Fayetteville police report rape four days after incident
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FAYETTEVILLE -- Fayetteville police issued a press release on Monday morning about the rape of a 14-year-old girl Thursday evening despite a policy requiring random sexual assaults to be reported to the public within 72 hours.
At the time the incident occurred, a former Miss North Carolina was finishing up work at a hair salon. She had no idea what had just happened.
"Thursday when it took place, I was here at work, until right around the time of the incident. So I was really shocked that I was just now finding out about it, and concerned," says Brooke McLaurin Autry.
She says if she had known about the incident, she would have taken some precautions.
"If I'd have known that was going on at the time, I would have called someone to come up here with me and walk me out," she said.
Mary Brown Woodruff visits the park near where the incident occurred a few times a week, normally during the daytime. She says she surveys the area to make sure it's safe.
"You know, look carefully, especially if I would be by myself, usually I have someone with me," she said.
Fayetteville police say that the 72-hour policy doesn't apply to juveniles. Additionally, a police spokesman says an internal miscommunication contributed to the delay.
"The policy as it's written for the 72 hours does apply for adult criminal investigations, and this does involve a minor. So there was some miscommunication in that regard," said Fayetteville police PIO Gavin MacRoberts.
But police also noted that releasing too much information too soon can taint an investigation.
"Sometimes if you have a lot of publicity, that can influence what some people might see and remember. And you don't want that in an investigation," says MacRoberts.
Even though she would have liked to know about the incident sooner, Autry believes she still works in a very safe area.
"I love it. I have always wanted to work in downtown Fayetteville and I love what they're doing with Fayetteville," she said.