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

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CARL HAMIL­TON

ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com

—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

ELK­TON

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.

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