Charges have been dropped against two Frederick men accused of kidnapping and raping a high school classmate.
Prosecutors told the court Monday they won’t proceed with the cases against Edgar Natanal Chicas-Hernandez and Victor Antonio Gonzalez-Guttierres.
Gonzalez-Guttierres, 20, and Chicas-Hernandez, 18, have been held without bail since Frederick police officers arrested them in September 2017. Both men were teenagers at the time of the alleged incident, but were being tried as adults despite efforts by Chicas-Hernandez’s attorneys to move the case to juvenile court.
The evidence against the two men is insufficient to prosecute the cases, Frederick County Assistant State’s Attorney Lindell K. Angel told the court in back-to-back hearings Monday.
“Our client has maintained from day one he had nothing to do with this,” said Jennifer Dayton, who along with John Maclean represented Chicas-Hernandez for the Office of the Public Defender. “The decision today speaks for itself.”
Police arrested Chicas-Hernandez and Gonzalez-Guttieres as suspects in an alleged incident reported in early September 2017. A high school-aged girl told police she had been kidnapped at knife-point and raped by two classmates she recognized as the two then-teenagers. The girl alleged a third young man was involved, but police did not identify him, The News-Post previously reported.
The charges garnered national media attention from outlets such as ABC, Fox News and BuzzFeed. The website Breitbart.com tagged its story about the case with an “illegal immigrant crime” label.
“There sincerely was no evidence,” said attorney Carl Somerlock, who represented Gonzalez-Guttierres. “It was based on backstory that couldn’t be verified.”
A cellphone data analysis supported the defendants’ assertions of innocence, Somerlock said.
Although prosecutors dropped their case, neither Chicas-Hernandez nor Gonzalez-Guttierres is free to go home. The Frederick County Adult Detention Center continues to hold both men on Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers for unrelated civil immigration cases.
The Frederick Police Department is no longer investigating the case. Lt. Kirk Henneberry said the department’s investigation has been “closed for some time.”