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Adult Male Charged with First-Degree Rape; Possibility of Additional Victims a Concern

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Gaithersburg, MD- Detectives from the Montgomery County Department of Police – Special Victims Investigations Division (SVID) have arrested and charged 20-year-old Jose Roberto Hernandez-Penal of Hyattsville with first-degree rape, kidnapping and armed robbery. Detectives have released a photo of Hernandez-Penal and are urging anyone who may be a victim of a sexual assault by Hernandez-Penal to come forward.

On Tuesday, May 16, 2023, 3rd District officers responded to the Northwest Branch Trail in the 10700 block of Columbia Pike in Silver Spring for the report of a rape and an armed robbery.


The investigation by detectives has revealed that at approximately 2:40 p.m., Hernandez-Penal approached two adult females on the Northwest Brach Trail, displayed a machete, stole their property and sexually assaulted one of the victims. Hernandez-Penal then left the scene.    


Upon leaving the scene, Hernandez-Penal assaulted an adult male victim in the 1100 block of Devere Drive.


Officers established a perimeter in the area and Hernandez-Penal was located and taken into custody with the assistance of the Maryland State Police helicopter, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit and Maryland-National Capital Park Police.    


Hernandez-Penal was interviewed by detectives and made statements of involvement. Hernandez-Penal was transported to the Montgomery County Central Processing Unit, where he was charged with first degree rape, first degree assault, second degree assault, armed robbery, kidnapping, and weapons-related charges.


Detectives believe that there may be additional victims of sexual assault by Hernandez-Penal that have not contacted police.


Detectives are urging anyone who believes themselves to be a victim to contact SVID at (240) 773-5050 or Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS(8477). Callers can remain anonymous. 


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Release ID: 23-270
Media Contact: CTDurham 
Categories: kidnapping , robbery , sexual-offense