SERVING CECIL COUNTY SINCE 1841 Boy, 16, charged in Elkton rape
Top 5 Cecil County football games of 2016 revealed Also suspect in previously unreported 2015 cases
—A 16-year-old boy remained jailed Thursday after investigators arrested and charged him as a suspect in one of several knifepoint rapes that occurred on the streets of Elkton between September
and December, according to Cecil County District Court records.
Meanwhile, the accused teen, Isiah Lavonte McCargo, who was 15 at the time of his alleged offenses, is considered a “person of interest” in at least three other sexual assaults that occurred during that time period, Capt. Joseph Zurolo, an Elkton Police Department, told the Whig on Thursday.
“He’s going to be charged with a second rape, and he’s a suspect in two similar events,” Zurolo outlined.
EPD Cpl. Sean Murphy, lead investigator, arrested McCargo on Monday at the suspect’s residence in the unit block of Transom Court in Elkton, police reported.
McCargo is charged as an adult with first-degree rape, first-degree assault, reckless endangerment, armed robbery and six other criminal offenses in the sole rape case filed against him, court records show.
Scheduled for an Aug. 19 preliminary hearing, Mc- Cargo remained in the Cecil County Detention Center without bond on Thursday.
McCargo stands accused raping and robbing a woman in an alley near the intersection of Mackall and Osage streets, after he had walked behind her for a short distance and then engaged her briefly in conversation, police reported.
The woman and McCargo did not know each other, police noted.
“The subject ultimately physically forced her up a side alley and produced a knife. At the onset of the assault, he commanded her not to scream or he would ‘knock her the (expletive) out’,” according to charging papers.
While raping the woman, the suspect reached inside her jacket and stole $96, police said. After the sexual assault, police added, the suspect fled the scene.
Charging documents indicate that the rape occurred at that location in Elkton at
some point between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1, reflecting the alleged victim’s inability to provide an exact time and date of the incident.
Zurolo explained Thursday that the woman did not report the incident to EPD investigators until Aug. 5, as many as 11 months after the alleged rape occurred.
By the time that woman came forward last week, EPD detectives already were more than two months into an investigation triggered by information regarding a knife-wielding rapist that had been preying on women who, because of their socially unacceptable street lifestyles, were considered easy targets, Zurolo reported.
The alleged victim gave her account reluctantly — and only after learning that the same suspect may have raped other women in Elkton, he said. Investigators believe that the person responsible for the rash of rapes was “very selective” in choosing his victims and calculating in carrying out the attacks, Zurolo added.
“He targeted women who would be reluctant to go to police because of their high-risk lifestyles, street lifestyles. The method of operation in all the incidents is the same. He’d strike up a conversation with the individuals and then ac- cost them at knifepoint,” Zurolo said, noting that all of the attacks occurred on the streets of Elkton late at night or early in the morning.
The investigation started in May after a “confidential informant” contacted EPD detectives and alerted them to a major topic of conversation within the street population, Zurolo reported.
“That person, this confidential informant, let us know what the talk on the street was. Everyone was talking about these women who had been sexually assaulted, although none of the victims had come forward,” Zurolo said.
Part of the investigation has involved detectives tracking down possible rape victims and interviewing them, according to Zurolo, who also reported that several women had been interviewed, as of Thursday.
EPD investigators filed charges against McCargo on Aug. 5, after the alleged victim had given her account of the rape to detectives and picked a picture of McCargo out of a photo lineup, according to court records, which indicate that McCargo, at that point, was “a person of interest who was developed through investigation into other similar incidents.”
Charging documents, however, were not made public until police arrested McCargo on Monday. Although those court records relate to one rape case in which McCargo is the suspect, the documents provide an overview of the rash of rapes that occurred in Elkton late last year.
“Over the course of the past several months, the Elkton Police Department has been investigating several reports of rape and other sexual offenses in the area of West Main Street, Mackall Street, Osage Street and Landing Lane. Several of these offenses had a similar modus operandi (method of operation) and involved the suspect having weapons. Through the course of those investigations, a person of interest was identified as Isiah McCargo,” according to a portion of the statement of probable cause submitted by Murphy.
Because of the ongoing investigation, which involves suspect identification through photo lineups, EPD withheld its mugshot of McCargo to avoid compromising future cases relating to the string of rapes.
Zurolo acknowledged that investigators lack physical evidence in the rape case against McCargo, as well as in the other rape cases under investigation, because so much time has passed since the alleged incidents occurred.
“Because they were not reported in a timely fashion, there’s not as much physical evidence as we’d like,” Zurolo said, adding, however, that there is enough circumstantial evidence.