Local News

Attack on Teenage Girl May Be Connected to Earlier Assaults

Posted October 18, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— A kidnapping and attempted sexual assault has left parents on edge in Fayetteville. Friday morning, a 15-year old girl walked to a school bus stop, and a man forced her into his car. He drove her to a wooded area, threatened her with a knife, and tried to sexually assault her.

The girl managed to escape and is okay, but the attacker is still loose and police worry he'll strike again.

Ronnica Lassiter, a witness to the attack, is still shaken after seeing another teenage girl kidnapped on Tollhouse Drive.

The abduction stunned people in the neighborhood off Morganton Road.

"I thought this was a good neighborhood and a good, safe place to be," said Freda Lassiter, witness' mother. "But being close to home, it's just scary, so now everybody's on the watch."

Nilsa Santiago, a concerned parent, said everyone needs to be very careful.

Police said the kidnapper tried to have sex with the 15-year old victim in the woods behind Benjamin Martin Elementary, which was not what parents at the school want to hear.

In April, police released the sketch of a man suspected in up to five attacks on teenage girls in the city. Investigators said it's strikingly similar to the sketch of the suspect in this case.

Lt. Eugene Hallock, Fayetteville police, said residents need to call in anything that might be suspicious.

The police said it's possible there's a link between the city assaults and a few that happened out in the county, which means more than a half dozen attacks were committed by one man. Police are not ready to link them all together, but they're giving the possibility a lot of thought and attention.

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