Four Alleged MS-13 Gang Members Charged in Connection with Murder of Man Found in Germantown Park
Police have charged four men with first-degree murder in connection with the homicide of the body found in the Germantown area of Great Seneca Stream Valley Park back in August. Police say the murder in Great Seneca Stream Valley Park and the body of another man found in a wooded area off Lost Knife Road in Montgomery Village on November 1. Police believe both murders are the work of the MS-13 street gang.
Montgomery County Police detectives from the Major Crimes Division have charged the four suspects for the homicide of Marvin Misael Vargas-Osorio, 34, of the 400 block of North Frederick Avenue in Gaithersburg. It was Vargas-Osorio whose body was found in the shallow grave by hunters in Great Seneca Stream Valley Park on August 29.
The four suspects are Luis F. Avelar Morales, 18, of Girard Street in Gaithersburg, Daniel Adonai Ramos, 19, of Lost Knife Circle in Montgomery Village, Edwin E. Reyes-Martinez,18, of the unit block of Whetstone Drive in Gaithersburg, and Juan Espinal Rapalo, 18, of Summit Avenue in Gaithersburg. They have been charged with first-degree murder. Avelar Morales and Reyes-Martinez were 17 at the time of the murder; they both have been charged as adults in this homicide.
According to police, Avelar Morales, Ramos, and Rapalo were charged while they were already in custody and being held at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. They three were being held while awaiting trial for the homicide of Roberto Gutierrez Cruz. It was Gutierrez Cruz whose body was found in the wooded area near Lost Knife Road on November 1.
Reyes-Martinez was charged on Dec. 22 with being an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and possession of a handgun in the November 1 homicide of Gutierrez Cruz and was also charged with first-degree murder for the homicide of Vargas-Osorio.
The body of Vargas-Osorio was found just off the Greenway Trail, approximately 200 yards from Watkins Mill Road/Germantown Road. The human remains were found by individuals participating in a managed deer hunt in the park. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore ruled this death a homicide due to trauma to the upper torso of the victim the results of multiple sharp instrument stab wounds.
The Washington Post is reporting that court documents state Vargas-Osorio was lured to the already-made grave in the Germantown area park where police believe that five assailants stabbed Vargas-Osorio. According to the Post report, two of the assailants then put his body in the grave.
In September, MCPD investigators released photos of the victim’s clothing and personal effects in hopes that someone would recognize the items or have information about the items and the identity of the victim.
Among the personal effects released was a set of Rosary beads which was found on the person of the victim. Police also released three different photos of the same gold necklace with unique chain links. The three photos are all of the same neckless with different levels of magnification. Police also released a photo of the victim’s shoes which appear to be gray and orange Nike sneakers. Also released were photos of the victim’s short and socks, along with a business card which was found in the victim’s shorts pocket, which is written is Spanish. The card contains the words “Servicio de Transportes La” and it is cut off, however the card has a two phone numbers one of which is 240 area code and the other is 301 are code.
Earlier this month, police said, a witness to the homicide came forward to police and investigators were able to identify the four suspects based on information provided by the witness.
Investigators believe that the homicide of Vargas-Osorio and the November 1 homicide of Gutierrez Cruz are gang related and that the suspects are associated with the MS-13 gang. These homicide investigations are ongoing and therefore additional information will not be released.
Police did not release photos of Avelar Morales and Reyes-Martinez because they were not adults at the time of the murder.
Photos courtesy MCPD