Police Think Missing Woman Was Abducted By a Stranger

By: Auburn Hutton Email
By: Auburn Hutton Email

It's been five days since Brianna Denison vanished from a Reno home, but investigators still have very little to go on. Police have followed several different leads, but so far, they've come up with nothing. They still don't have any suspects in the case, but they're now saying they believe Brianna was abducted by a stranger.

It seems to be sort of a process of elimination. Wednesday, police interviewed about 100 sex offenders, but found no clues. They also cleared the name of a 45-year-old "person of interest." Brianna's family says he volunteered a DNA sample and a lie detector test, so police let him go. Other than that, the only real evidence police have to work with is a little bit of blood that was left on her pillow.

For the first time since Brianna went missing, the neighborhood near the home on Mackay Court was fairly quiet Thursday morning. Police cars no longer combed the streets for evidence, and local students seemed to be back to business.

From an outsider's viewpoint, it almost looks like the police have stopped the search, but Brianna's family says that's not the case.

"As of right now, they are working their hardest. They said they are working all the time, knocking on doors. They have the dogs out, smelling for her scent. I know they're doing all they can do," said Brianna's cousin, Ashley Zunino.

The problem is, without any solid leads or clues, there is a limit to what police can do. Brianna's cousin, Ashley Zunino, says she and the rest of the family will never give up hope. Zunino says she truly believes her cousin is still alive, and that she's somewhere in Reno.

"I have my suspicions. I just want the community to know that someone needs to come forward fast, immediately. We want someone to come forward. Someone knows something about Brianna."

She says Brianna's boyfriend is not a suspect, and in fact, he's as shocked and saddened by Brianna's disappearance as the rest of her family. Zunino thinks someone else, someone unknown to the public, knows where Brianna is.

"I have a feeling she's with someone. Someone has her. A stranger? I don't know. I don't know."

Police say they're still awaiting DNA results from the blood on Brianna's pillow...and investigators are still conducting interviews. While they follow what little they have to work with, the family is only trying to cope. Zunino says her cousin's disappearance still feels like a dream.

"I feel like she'll walk in the door any day. I feel like she'll call me any second and just say 'sorry, it was all just a big misunderstanding.'"

Investigators say a 24-hour tip line will stay open, at least through this weekend. If you know anything about where Brianna Denison may be, or if you have any other information about what happened the night she went missing, you should call the tip line at 745-3521.


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