The woman fought the attacker and eventually was able to break away and run to a nearby office building. Surveillance video shows her rushing to the glass doors and looking over her shoulder to see if he was chasing her. A security guard helped her and called the police.
Investigators were led to the suspect, Dustin Thomas Rogers, in large part because he left his iPhone at the crime scene, according to Montgomery District Court records filed Thursday. Detectives also reviewed surveillance video from a convenience store near the scene that showed Rogers making a credit card purchase at 11:36 p.m. Tuesday, just minutes before the attack.
Investigators took Rogers into custody about 6 p.m. Wednesday as he was leaving a residence on Gaither Road, in the King Farm development, within a mile of the scene. Police believe he had been staying there recently, police said. A photo taken of him while in custody showed a series of tattoos on his upper chest, including the image of a red heart. The word “cold” is written above the heart. On either side is an affirmation to hard work: “No Struggle. No Success.”
Rogers was taken to the Montgomery County Detention Center, where he reported an address 30 miles away in Frederick, and was ordered held on no-bond status, according to online court records.
At a brief court hearing Thursday, prosecutors indicated to Judge Karen Ferretti that Rogers would be retaining defense attorney Brian Shefferman. The prosecutors agreed to postpone all matters until Friday.
Shefferman could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
According to police, on Tuesday night, the woman had gone out with friends and taken the Metro line north to the Shady Grove station.
She exited the station and crossed Frederick Road, or Route 355, about 11:30 p.m., according to court records. She then walked south on a sidewalk adjacent to Frederick Road.
A short time later, according to court records, she spotted a man walk out from a neighborhood and begin walking ahead of her on the sidewalk.
“She tried to keep an eye on him and keep her distance,” detectives would later write in court records.
The man stopped. She attempted to pass him.
“That’s when the assault occurred,” said Capt. Paul Starks, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Police Department.
The woman fought, but the attacker was able to get an arm around her neck, choke her and drag her into the isolated wooded area, according to a police affidavit filed in court.
The woman tried to call 911, but the attacker grabbed her phone and threw it, police said. He continued to choke her and strike her in the face and body, police said. At one point, when he loosened his grip on the woman’s neck, she ran to the office building.
“At 12:06 a.m., Victim A can be seen running up to the glass front doors,” detectives wrote in court records, citing surveillance video. “She begins banging on the front doors . . . and continuously looks over her shoulder to see if Rogers is pursuing her.”
The woman was admitted to a hospital. She is expected to be released over the next two days.
Court records show that Rogers has been arrested repeatedly going back at least to 2010 on charges including drug possession, theft and robbery.
In 2012, according to court records, he pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and was sentenced to five years in prison, but appears to have been released by 2015. He was subsequently arrested several times on charges that included possession with intent to distribute marijuana, assault, and obstruction. At least some of those charges were dropped, but court records reviewed Thursday did not explain why.