The suspect reportedly met women on several dating apps.
By Ricky Riley, Blavity
A Frederick County, Maryland, man has been arrested by authorities for knowingly passing HIV to four women he met on dating apps.
The suspect, identified as 34-year-old Rudolph J. Smith, reportedly set up profiles on Bumble and the now-defunct Backpage. He was indicted by a Frederick County grand jury, and police arrested Smith on Monday following a 21-month investigation, reports The Frederick News-Post.
“Yesterday at about 3:10 p.m. Detective [David] Dewees and Detective [Stephen] Radtke met with Smith and arrested him at his residence in the 5100 block of McLauren Lane,” Frederick County Police Lt. Kirk Henneberry told media on Tuesday.
Authorities were alerted to Smith’s actions in July 2017 when one of his victims came forward. The unnamed woman allegedly told police she may have contracted HIV after having contact with Smith.
Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith commended the police for apprehending the suspect. According to CBS Baltimore, Rudolph Smith was charged with four counts of first-degree assault, reckless endangerment and knowingly transferring HIV to another person.
“We have charged it previously in Frederick County, but it only comes up every several years that we’ll see a case like this,” he said in a statement to press. “We were working hand in hand with [the police department] from the very beginning, once it was brought to them, because they were seeking our legal advice throughout the entire investigation.”
Knowingly transferring HIV to another person carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a $2,500 fine. The investigation into Smith involved searching for the victims, examining the dating sites mentioned and looking into the suspect’s medical records to confirm his status.
According to the News-Post, the man reportedly was diagnosed with HIV in 2014. He told police he knew of his diagnosis while dating the four victims. Reports indicate the man also met an undisclosed number of women offline.
During the course of the investigation, police are asking others to come forward if they had contact with Smith. It is unconfirmed if Smith transferred HIV to any other women in the last few years.
Anyone who may have interacted with Smith after July 2017 has been asked to contact police via FPDcrimetip@frederickmdpolice.org or call 301-600-8477 (TIPS) or send a text to 240-674-8477 (TIPS).
This article originally appeared in Blavity.