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Police seek public's help after violent crimes against three women in Northwest Baltimore

and Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
"I was frightened to death to go out today." Seniors shaken after women attacked in Northwest Baltimore

Brutally beaten in her Central Park Heights home, a 90-year-old retired nurse "struggled and fought for her life" for weeks, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis told her neighbors at a meeting Tuesday evening.

Last week, she died and police learned from the medical examiner that she had been sexually assaulted in the attack, Davis told the crowd.

Gasps.

"Disgusting." "Oh, my God. "Unbelievable."

On Tuesday, police revealed the assault as a possible link to another recent crime. Early Saturday, a 71-year-old woman was sexually assaulted during a break-in about a mile away in Northwest Baltimore.

Baltimore police and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake held the meeting at the Zeta Center in Central Park Heights to urge neighbors to come forward with information.

"These evil people who perpetrated these crimes, they thought about it, planned it, and now they're hoping and praying somebody doesn't stand up," Davis said.

The 71-year-old woman woke about 2:30 a.m. Saturday at home on Beaufort Ave. in Arlington. Someone was touching her, police said.

The man standing over her wore all black and a ski mask. He held a silver knife. Police said he took her cash and jewelry, then assaulted her and drove away in her car. Soon after, he crashed the car but ran off before police arrived.

Davis said the assault was "a couple stone's throws" away from where 90-year-old Mary Helen Dickson-Hines was assaulted May 4.

"We don't know if it's the same person," the commissioner told the crowd of about 80 people, many of them women.

A neighbor noticed Dickson-Hines' door was left open and called police. She was inside, unable to move or call for help. She had been left for dead, police said.

Rawlings-Blake called the crimes "heinous."

"As the daughter of an 80-year-old, my heart goes out to the families," the mayor said. "I know how vulnerable our seniors are."

Also, Latrina Ashburne, 41, of nearby Cylburn, was shot outside her home Friday. She was a teacher's aide at a local elementary school.

These recent crimes have shaken neighbors in Northwest Baltimore.

"I was frightened to death to go out today," said Ella Scovens, 76. "I usually go on my morning walk."

All three victims lived within a two-mile radius of one another, events that Davis described as "geographically connected."

At the meeting, he urged people to call police with any information. So far, Davis said, there have been no tips.

Earlier, Rawlings-Blake and Davis canvassed the neighborhoods and passed out fliers asking for information. Rawlings-Blake stood on Beaufort Avenue along with a group of police officers and asked the public to call in tips to help find the suspect in Saturday's attack.

Ontarion Woodley, an Arlington resident, said she was not surprised by the incident involving the 71-year-old woman. Woodley's house was broken into during the winter, and she said she now puts wooden blocks in the windows at night to prevent them from being opened.

Another resident, Zanett Stevenson, said she has dragged heavy metal chairs to block the doors every night for the past 21/2 years.

"You already have to worry about walking on your street, but you got to worry about living in your house now too? Come on now," Stevenson said. "People coming and invading your privacy, and taking your sanity and your security from you, that's the worst thing ever."

Forensic evidence was recovered from Saturday's incident, but police would not provide specifics. However, Davis said he was encouraged by the evidence gathered so far.

Police asked for information to be called in to 1-866-LOCKUP.

tprudente@baltsun.com

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