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Suspect sought in Cumberland County sex assault

Posted September 24, 2010
Updated September 29, 2010

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— Deputies continued to search Monday for a man who sexually assaulted a Cumberland County woman in her home while her two young children were there.

The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said the incident happened at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in the College Downs subdivision off Andrews Road, north of Fayetteville.

The woman told investigators that a man knocked on her door, and she opened it slightly. When she was distracted by something inside the house, the man forced his way inside, she said.

"That split second can give enough time to somebody who wants to cause you harm to get inside your home," Debbie Tanna, spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, said Monday. "If a stranger comes to your door, do not open your door unless you're absolutely sure who that person might be."

The woman said the man assaulted her in her living room. Her children weren't harmed during the incident, authorities said.

"Fortunately, they were not involved in any of what happened. They did not see it," Tanna said.

The attack occurred near an area along North Ramsey Street where five other rapes and sexual assaults occurred between August 2006 and January 2008. No one has been charged in any of those cases.

On Sept. 17, a Peeping Tom was reported in the nearby King's Grant neighborhood.

Someone reported seeing a man in a gray hooded sweatshirt on the back porch of a unit in the King's Grant Condominiums complex, in the 400 block of Bubble Creek Court. The man was looking inside the condo early in the morning but fled when he realized that he had been seen, police said.

Cumberland County sex assault Suspect sought in Cumberland County sex assault

College Downs resident Jeanette Barber said last week's attack troubles her.

"It was sort of shocking to begin with because I thought we were living in a safe neighborhood," Barber said. "I always try to keep an eye out for people walking down the highway or down the street because you never know who's watching you in your yard."

Fayetteville police are still investigating seven rapes and sexual assaults that happened between June 2009 and January. The crimes all occurred at apartments or condos during overnight hours, but it's unclear whether they're linked to Thursday's attack.

The assailant in the College Downs case was described as a white man, about 5-foot-11 with a medium to large build and brownish hair cut in a military style. He was last seen wearing a tan armor T-shirt, Army camouflage pants and tan Army suede boots. Investigators said his style of dress doesn't necessarily mean he's a soldier.

Anyone with information about any of the attacks is asked to call the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office at 910-323-1500.

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