Police Still Seeking UA Rape Suspect

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University of Arkansas police Monday afternoon continued to look for a man they say raped  a student on campus early Sunday, said Lt. Gary Crain, UA police spokesman.

A female student was attacked near a parking lot as she walked home about 12:10 a.m. to 12:20 a.m., police said.

Crain told 5NEWS that what was first considered a sexual assault is now being investigated as a rape.

"He was trying to prevent her from screaming, had his hand over her mouth and was threatening her at the same time," Crain said.

The crime of rape committed by a stranger is rare on campus, he said.

The student reported she was attacked from behind and forced on the ground in the southeast area of Lot 14, near Gregg Avenue.

Crain said the victim was able to get away and call Fayetteville Police.

"The person that was attacked actually made it back to the residence and called them and then they transferred it to us," Crain said.

The attacker threatened to use a weapon, but no weapon was displayed. He is described as a white male with dark complexion, 5-foot-10, muscular build, in his mid-20s, with short brown hair, wearing tan/khaki shorts and a dark gray shirt.

Students received an email alert with a description of the incident.

"I was just sorry to hear it," Sophmore Ellie Turner said. "It's really scary."

Fliers with information have been distributed across the University of Arkansas.

"A lot of people don't check their email, so I think it's good that they have it around campus so others can see it and be informed," Junior AnneMarie Prestipino said.

Kelly Picardi, who walks by Lot 14 often, said she will be more watchful.

"I'm just going to be more careful walking around now, especially at night," Picardi said.

Police are asking anyone who may have information to contact them at (479) 575-2222.

The university issued a safety alert to students, reminding them to use caution when walking alone after dark. The alert advised students to go out in groups, call for an escort or use Safe Ride.

The Razorback Patrol Escort Service is available Sunday through Thursday from 6 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. and provides escorts on campus, according to the alert. An escort can be obtained by calling (479) 575-5000, or texting (479) 249-2188. 

Safe Ride is available Wednesday through Saturday from 11:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. and provides service from anywhere in the Fayetteville city limits to student residences on campus.

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