Local News

Fayetteville sex assault could be linked to previous cases

Posted July 13, 2012 1:24 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2012 6:34 p.m. EDT

— Police said a man who sexually assaulted a Fayetteville woman early Friday could be linked to as many as four other sexual assaults in the area in the past four years.

A man broke into a unit in the King's Grant Condominiums complex on Bubble Creek Court, off Ramsey Street in north Fayetteville, at about 4:30 a.m. by prying open a window, police said. He assaulted one of two women inside before fleeing.

The woman who was attacked provided police with a vague description of her assailant, but it was enough for investigators to say that he could be linked to four other unsolved assaults in the area since 2008.

Lt. Tracey Bass-Caine said all of the previous attacks have occurred in the King’s Grant complex, with the last one reported on Jan. 8.

"The only similarities we see at this time is that it's a white male, the female victims were sexually assaulted and they occurred in the Ramsey street area. Those are the only similarities at this time," Bass-Caine said.

None of the four cases was linked to a 2010 investigation of a suspected serial rapist in Fayetteville, police said.

Seven women were raped or sexually assaulted between June 2009 and January 2010. All of those women lived in apartments or condominiums, and they were alone when a man broke into their homes between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., police said.

Fayetteville police and surrounding law enforcement agencies created a task force to investigate the cases, but they never made an arrest. Although investigators released a sketch of a man wanted in the attacks, police said they were never sure whether any of the cases were linked.

Still, public concern over the possibility of a serial rapist led Fayetteville officials to order the police department to change its policy on publicizing sexual assaults. Now, the department must notify the public within 72 hours of an assault if the assailant is unknown.

The task force was disbanded in September 2010 after the Fayetteville Police Department created a Special Victims Unit to handle sex assault cases.

Police went door to door Friday to alert area residents to the latest attack.

Becky Laing, 25, who has lived in King's Grant for two years, said the news has her on edge.

"I'm nervous because I just had a baby. So, I just went out and bought some pepper spray, actually," Laing said, adding that she also bought some spray for her sister, who lives in the same building.

One of the earlier assaults occurred in the building where they live.

"It's still a pretty nice area. I don't consider moving," she said. "We just make sure our doors are locked, and I feel safer now that the police are more aware and that they're around here monitoring everything."

Anyone with information about Friday's assault is asked to call SVU detectives with the Fayetteville Police Department at 910-433-1856 or Crime Stoppers at 910-483-8477.