Police investigate report of sexual assault near Memphis in May - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Police investigate report of sexual assault near Memphis in May festival

Officials from Memphis in May released a statement Saturday afternoon regarding the incident. Officials from Memphis in May released a statement Saturday afternoon regarding the incident.

(WMC) - Local authorities are searching for a suspected rapist who could have possibly raped a woman at the Memphis in May BBQ festival.

Memphis police say it happened Friday night when a woman reported an assault in the area of Riverside and Beale Street, the north entrance gate to the festival.

By Saturday night, teams began to notice more security and an increased awareness of their surroundings; particularly after sundown.

"You have to be really careful. And you have to watch your surroundings and not be by yourself," said Rachelle Richardson.

Memphis in May officials would not comment on camera, but they issued a written statement saying in part, "The alleged incident reportedly took place in the vicinity of Riverside Drive and Beale Street, but it's unknown if it took place inside the gates ..."

Officials from Memphis in May also say security is always heightened during events such as this week's festival, and they have several law enforcement agencies including Memphis Police, Shelby County Sheriff's Office, Homeland Security, FBI, TACT unit and a private security company.

As the festival winds down for the weekend, security and safety is top of mind.

"I think they need to have even more security and I think they should shutdown earlier for safety and a lot less drinking," added Richardson.

Memphis in May officials gave WMC Action News 5 the following statement regarding the allegations: 

"Memphis in May officials were made aware by the Memphis Police Department of a reported sexual assault, which reportedly happened at approximately 11:25pm on May 16, 2014.  The alleged incident reportedly took place in the vicinity of Riverside Drive and Beale Street, but it is unknown if it took place outside of the gates of the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest or within the park.  The Memphis Police Department has told Memphis in May officials this is an ongoing investigation and they have no further information at this time. 

With Memphis in May officials expecting hundreds of thousands of attendees to the various events throughout the month of May, every precaution is taken to ensure guest safety.  Onsite presence from the following law enforcement agencies remain in place throughout each event:

Memphis Police Department
Shelby County Sheriff's Department
Department of Homeland Security
Federal Bureau of Investigation
TACT Unit
Andy Frain Services (Private Security Company)"

No arrest has been made, and police are not releasing many more details about the incident at this time.

Copyright 2014 WMC. All rights reserved.
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