Charlottesville, Virginia police have said an investigation has produced no evidence a gang rape portrayed in a Rolling Stone article occurred.
But Chief Timothy Longo said it did not mean “something terrible didn’t happen” to the student known as Jackie.
The November 2014 article described a horrifying gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house in 2012.
But after discrepancies were found in the story, the magazine apologised for the article.
“We should have not made this agreement with Jackie and we should have worked harder to convince her that the truth would have been better served by getting the other side of the story,” Rolling Stone said in a statement. “These mistakes are on Rolling Stone.”
A report by the Washington Post found writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely had not contacted those accused of the rape.
Jackie told the newspaper she had asked Ms Erdely to remove her from the article but that the writer had refused.
According to the Post, Jackie said she stands by her account, but she now says some of the details in the magazine may not be accurate.
Jackie did not co-operate with the Charlottesville police investigation, which was begun at the request of University of Virginia president Teresa Sullivan after the article was published.
Mr Longo said a police investigation did not find any evidence at the Phi Kappa Psi house, where Jackie said the rape took place.
But the investigation was only suspended, not closed, the police chief said, as his detectives did not have the power to compel anyone to co-operate, and there might be additional leads in the future to determine what happened to Jackie.
“All I can tell you is that there is no substantive basis to conclude that what was reported in that article happened,” he said.
He said Jackie had been in contact with police months before the article was published and did not want them to investigate the alleged assault.
Rolling Stone has asked the dean of the Columbia University graduate school of journalism to conduct a review of its reporting.
The magazine is expected to publish those findings in a few weeks.
Phi Kappa Psi was reinstated by the University of Virginia as an official fraternity at the school in January.