Fairfax County Police have arrested a man they believe is responsible for the series of sexual assaults in the area around the Dunn Loring Metro Station. Michael Scott Acosta, 18, a senior at George C. Marshall High School in Falls Church, was arrested on Thursday, Nov. 3, according to a police report.
The day before, at about 9:15 p.m., a team of officers and detectives investigating the assaults spotted Acosta. He aroused their interest because of his suspicious behavior and because his appearance was similar to descriptions given by the victims of the assaults, said the report. A detective approached him and spoke with him, thus learning his identity.
On Thursday, investigators were able to connect a piece of evidence found at one of the crime scenes to Acosta and served a search warrant on him, collecting more evidence, the report said.
According to the search warrant, a detective met with an acquaintance of Acosta's and showed him a picture of the black Puma jacket left at the scene of the most recent attack. The acquaintance immediately identified it as his own jacket and said he had let Acosta borrow it a month ago, and it had not been returned.
Acosta was arrested at about 7:45 p.m. that night and is being held without bond on charges of abduction with intent to defile, rape and two counts of forcible sodomy.
The charges are all in connection with the first assault, which occurred Sept. 21, at about 10 p.m., when a 22-year-old woman, who was taking a shortcut past Stenwood Elementary School on her way home from the Metro station, was grabbed by a man who dragged her into a wooded area behind the school, where he raped her. He left behind a T-shirt with a logo that read "Divers Club" and "Puerto Vallarta Mexico."
Another rape and what appeared to be an attempted rape took place on Oct. 7. At 9:40 p.m. on that day, a 45-year-old woman reported being grabbed from behind and knocked to the ground as she was starting down a footpath near Livingstone Lane, across Gallows Road from the Metro station. When she began screaming, the attacker fled.
At 10:53 p.m., a 28-year-old woman called police to report that she had been grabbed from behind while walking on a footpath near the site of the previous attack and had been dragged into the woods and raped. Police were investigating the first assault when the second took place.
ON OCT. 23, at about 4:15 a.m., a man entered a second-story apartment in the same area, apparently through an unlocked door, and accosted a 26-year-old woman in her bedroom. According to the affidavit for the search warrant, she successfully fought him off, and he fled, leaving behind the black jacket that linked Acosta to the crime, as well as a hockey puck with a logo reading "Wichita Falls Rustlers Hockey."
The victims all gave similar physical descriptions of their assailant, and police had been blanketing the area since the Oct. 7 attacks, according to Fairfax County Police spokesman Officer Bud Walker.
Walker said police anticipate charging Acosta with the other three attacks some time this week. "The only reason we haven't charged him with the other three [attacks] is that we got four felony charges out of the first attack. That's enough to hold him," said Walker, adding that investigators could now take their time building the cases for additional charges.
"Detectives were very motivated in this case," he said pointing out that police made the arrest within 24 hours of their first contact with Acosta.
On Friday morning, Marshall High School's acting principal, Jay W. Pearson, sent home a letter with students informing parents that a student from the school had been arrested, that none of the incidents leading to his arrest took place on school grounds or involved other students, and that the arrest had been announced to the student body that morning.
Rick Bellamy, a senior at Marshall, said he did not know Acosta, but had heard he was quiet and kept to himself. "He didn't sound like the type of student who would do something like this," said Bellamy.