Serial rapist still out there

A composite sketch of a second suspect in a string of Fayetteville area rapes

March 12, 2010 2:29:25 PM PST
A regional task force investigating a string of rapes in the Fayetteville area announced new charges Friday against a Fort Bragg soldier, but said he is not behind seven recent assaults in Fayetteville and Hope Mills.

Spc. Aaron M. Pernell, 22, now faces rape, kidnapping, and burglary charges in Hoke County and Fayetteville. That is on top of charges already filed by military officials for two alleged burglaries and a sexual assault at Fort Bragg.

Task force members said the new charges are for incidents that allegedly took place between 2008 and 2009. Three alleged attacks were in Hoke and three were in Fayetteville.

But investigators dropped a bombshell at a news conference Friday afternoon when they said Pernell was not behind seven more recent burglaries and assaults on women who were home alone in Fayetteville and Hope Mills late last year and in January.

They said they're unsure if the attacks were the work of one person.

They released a new composite sketch in the case of a black male of medium build who stands between 5'9" and 6 feet. Anyone who recognized the man was asked to call the Sexual Assault Tip Line at (910) 433-1934.

Authorities said Pernell remains in military custody. Arrangements were being made for him to appear in state court on the new charges.

Pernell, an indirect fire infantryman assigned to 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, is a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma. He entered the Army in March 2006 and completed initial entry training at Fort Benning, Ga. In July 2006 he was assigned to 1-325 AIR. He has served two tours in Iraq.

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