The victim left the Fayetteville Main Headquarters Library at 300 Maiden Lane downtown around 8 p.m. Thursday and was walking through Linear Park when she said a man grabbed her and forced her into the bushes where he sexually assaulted her.
After the rape, the man ran in the direction of Mason Street. The victim returned to the library and called a parent, who called police.
Asked about why - when the rape was reported last Thursday - that the public wasn't notified about the attack until Monday, police explained that the investigation was initially assigned to their Youth Services Unit, which does not normally coordinate with the Public Information Officer, which led to the delay.
"We apologize for the break down in communications that has occurred with this incident," Interim Police Chief Katherine Bryant said in a statement.
"While the [Department's Operation Policy] does not require the release of this information within 72 hours when it involves a juvenile, given the nature of the crime and the need for the public to be aware and take the necessary safety precautions, the department will work towards ensuring the information is released in a more timely manner when it is not detrimental to an ongoing investigation."
Detectives have released a description of the suspect:
- White male in his 50s
- Approximately 5'10"
- 160 pounds
- Short brown hair
- Blue/gray eyes
- "Salt and Pepper" colored mustache and beard
- Wearing a gray shirt, dark colored pants, and gray and white shoes
Anyone with information about the assault is asked to contact detectives with the Fayetteville Police Department at (910) 433-1856 or Crime Stoppers at (910) 483-TIPS (8477).