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Attack on Teenage Girl May Be Connected to Earlier Assaults

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FAYETTEVILLE — A kidnapping and attempted sexual assault has left parents on edge inFayetteville. Friday morning, a 15-year old girl walked to a school busstop, 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 looseand police worry he'll strike again.

Ronnica Lassiter, a witness to the attack, is still shaken after seeinganother 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 justscary, so now everybody's on the watch."

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

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

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

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

The police said it's possible there's a link between the city assaultsand 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 themall together, but they're giving the possibility a lot of thought andattention.

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