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Police probe alleged assault

December 30, 2003|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

Police were investigating a report that a pregnant woman was robbed at knifepoint and beaten by two men on Dec. 13 as she walked to Hagerstown Business College, the Washington County Sheriff's Department said Monday.

On Dec. 17, the 19-year-old Mont Alto, Pa., woman's unborn twin babies were declared dead at Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center, Sheriff's Cpl. Roy Harsh said. He said the fetuses' deaths resulted from the attack.

The woman has since provided descriptions of her attackers, but police had not located witnesses or made any arrests, Harsh said.

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Washington County State's Attorney M. Kenneth Long Jr. said Monday it was unlikely that a murder charge would result from the investigation. He said he believed state law did not cover fetuses in its murder statutes.

A phone message left for a Maryland Attorney General's Office spokeswoman seeking clarification of the law was not returned Monday.

Harsh said police were contacted shortly after the attack, which the woman said occurred at about 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13. The woman said she was walking by herself after shopping at the Martin's grocery store in Fountainhead Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue.

The woman was five months pregnant at the time of the attack. She said she was walking to the business college through a parking lot behind Diamond Auto Glass at 13236 Pennsylvania Ave. when she was attacked, Harsh said.

The woman said two men approached her and held a knife to her throat, Harsh said. She said she was robbed of $300, and then was shoved to the ground and kicked repeatedly, Harsh said.

Harsh said police photographed multiple bruises and scrapes on the woman's stomach and abdomen. He said she had no visible lacerations to her neck.

Harsh said deputies searched the area where the woman said she was attacked, but were unable to collect any evidence.

Harsh said doctors at Washington County Hospital said they could not locate a heartbeat for the unborn twins. The woman was taken to Hershey Medical Center, and on Dec. 17, the fetuses were declared dead.

Police are looking for two men in connection with the incident.

Staff Writer Brian Shappell contributed to this story.

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