MARYLAND

Serial assailant suspected: Authorities in Prince George's County said yesterday that two sexual assaults, the most recent one on Wednesday, might be the work of a serial assailant, and they warned residents of the Oxon Hill neighborhood where the attacks occurred to be cautious.

Police said the first assault occurred March 3 in the 1500 block of Southview Drive. A woman walked into her apartment about 9:30 p.m. and was beaten and raped by a man who had been waiting inside, police said. The man fled, they said.

About 3 p.m. Wednesday, a woman was inside the laundry room of her home in the 1100 block of Southview Drive, three blocks from the site of the earlier assault, when she was approached from behind by an assailant. The man beat and raped the woman, police said, and then fled.

Police ask that anyone with information call the department's Crime Solvers unit at 301-735-1111.

THE DISTRICT

HOMICIDES

* An unidentified woman was found dead in the hallway of an apartment in the 300 block of 50th Street NE yesterday after firefighters were called to put out a blaze. Fire officials said the blaze, which was discovered about 1:05 a.m., had been set. Police said they were investigating the woman's death as a homicide, but the cause of her death was not released. The fire was confined to one apartment.

Compiled from reports by staff writers.