GAITHERSBURG, Md. (ABC7) — The man who sexually assaulted a young woman at random within a small patch of woodland remains at large.
Around 5:30 a.m. Friday, a 25-year-old woman was at a Ride On bus stop at the corner of Watkins Mill Road and Travis Lane. The small stop is directly across the street from the Montgomery Meadows townhome development.
As the woman waited in the dark for the #55 bus, a man approached. He dragged her down a dirt hill and into the woods where the sexual assault occurred. Law enforcement sources tell ABC7 the woman became unconscious during the attack. When she awoke, she was partially unclothed and had injuries to her head, face, back and feet. The suspect, however, was gone. It's believed he took some of the woman's articles of clothing.
"Stranger based sexual assaults are very rare in Montgomery County," said Rick Goodale, a spokesman with the Montgomery County Police Department. "This is one of the worst things you could have happen to you."
The victim managed to stumble home, where a family member called 911 some 45 minutes after the attack began. That lag in time, however, provided the suspect with a significant amount of time to escape. As of Friday evening, he remained at large.
"We want to identify him and get him off the streets as soon as possible," Goodale added.
Officers used yellow police tape to cordon off the bus stop and adjacent woods. Brown paper bags were used to collect evidence from the crime scene. A K9 unit attempted to track the suspect's escape route. The suspect description was also shared with the entire Ride On and Metro Bus fleets.
Meanwhile, paramedics transported the victim to Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center in Rockville for treatment and testing. She is reportedly traumatized.
"Wow! That's terrible," said Butler Omucheyi, whose wife often goes on jogs when it is dark outside. "The neighborhood is changing a lot from when we moved in eight years ago. So it's really kind of disturbing and concerning for me to hear that."
According to the victim, the suspect is a black man, in his twenties, with a slim build. He was wearing a dark-colored checkered shirt or jacket at the time of the incident and approached the victim on foot.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Montgomery County Police at (240) 773-5050.