Local News

Still no arrests in Fayetteville rape cases

Posted February 18, 2010 2:29 p.m. EST
Updated February 18, 2010 4:45 p.m. EST

— Sixteen days after a person of interest was named in a string of rape cases in Fayetteville, no arrests have been made amid the continuing investigation.

On Feb. 2, Army Spc. Aaron Michael Pernell, 22, of 500 Regency Drive, was named a person of interest in the rape cases, which have been reported since late June last year. Purnell was charged in two burglaries and sexual assaults on Fort Bragg and also faces charges in a September break-in in Fayetteville.

A regional task force of local, state and federal authorities investigating the string of rape cases was looking at possible links to Purnell.

"The case is ongoing, and there are no updates at this time," Capt. Mark Bridgeman, a detective with the Fayetteville Police Department, said Thursday.

Six women in Fayetteville and a seventh in Hope Mills reported being sexually assaulted. In each case, the victim said a man broke her home – usually an apartment – late at night while she was alone, according to police reports. In an eighth case, a burglar tried to sexually assault a Fayetteville woman before fleeing.

Last month, Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said DNA from a rape that occurred last August east of Raeford matched evidence from a case in Fayetteville. Fayetteville police haven't confirmed such a link.