A 42-year-old man wanted in the August sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl in the laundry room of an Ellicott City apartment complex was arrested in North Carolina, Howard County police said yesterday.
Members of a U.S. Marshals fugitive task force arrested Fermin Mejia, formerly of the 3200 block of Normandy Woods Drive, on Tuesday at a friend's house in Marsh, N.C.
He was being held in the Wake County (N.C.) Public Safety Center on a $500,000 cash bond and is fighting extradition to Maryland, according to Howard County police. The extradition process could take two to three months, said Sherry Llewellyn, a Howard police spokeswoman.
Mejia was charged with attempted second-degree rape, third- and fourth-degree sex offenses, second-degree assault and indecent exposure.
Police say he grabbed the girl as she walked to her family's apartment in the middle of the afternoon Aug. 22. She was pulled into the laundry room in the 3000 block of Oak Green Circle and sexually assaulted, according to police.
The girl fought off her attacker, got away and told her mother, who contacted police. The victim was able to provide enough information for police to identify Mejia as a suspect. He had made "suggestive" comments to her in the past, Llewellyn said. Detectives later learned that Mejia may have fled to North Carolina and passed along a possible address to federal officials.