Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Suspect of Teen Rape IDed as Illegal Migrant from El Salvador

'Montgomery County Department of Police [...] have arrested and charged 20-year-old Jose Roberto Hernandez-Penal of Hyattsville with first-degree rape, kidnapping and armed robbery...'

(Luis CornelioHeadline USA) Local authorities have apprehended a suspect in connection with the brutal rape of a 15-year-old girl, which occurred on May 16 in a wooden area in Silver Spring, Maryland.  

An ICE spokesperson confirmed on Thursday that the suspect has been identified as 20-year-old Jose Roberto Hernandez-Espinal, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador.

According to law enforcement officials, the victim and a friend were enjoying lunch along the Northwest Branch Trail before they were approached by the violent man with a machete. Hernandez-Espinal proceeded to steal their belongings and forced the 15-year-old girl to a secluded part of the park before raping her, as reported by Fox 5 DC on Thursday.

The girl told law enforcement she thought she was going to die, according to local reports. Montgomery County police officers quickly mobilized after the rape and apprehended the 20-year-old Salvadorian national.  

“It’s disturbing when any crime of this nature takes place – you never like to see this as a police officer – you want the community to feel safe,” said Lt. Charles Smith, an officer with the with Maryland-National Capital Park Police. “You want the park to be safe,” he added. 

According to Fox News, the suspect, now facing charges of first-degree rape, first- and second-degree assault and armed robbery, allegedly entered the U.S. in May 2013.

Detailing the harrowing experience, a relative of the 15-year-old, who was rushed to the hospital after the rape, said she is still in the hospital trying to recover and rest.

Police said cases like this rarely occurred in the area but believe that there could be other victims.

“Hernandez-Penal was interviewed by detectives and made statements of involvement,” local law enforcement said in a press release, also adding: “Detectives believe that there may be additional victims of sexual assault by Hernandez-Penal that have not contacted police.”

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