Police Urge Patience in Probe of Suspected Reno Kidnapping

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With no suspects and little evidence, police asked the public for patience as they investigate the suspected kidnapping of a young Reno woman and appealed to friends and neighbors again Friday to offer up even the most "inconsequential" information they may have about her mysterious disappearance six days ago.

Crime lab technicians have yet to determine whether a stain on a
pillow at the suspected crime scene is the blood of Brianna Denison, Reno police spokesman Steve Frady said Friday.

The 19-year-old college student hasn't been seen since about 4 a.m. on Sunday when she went to sleep on a couch at the home of a friend a few blocks from the University of Nevada, Reno, campus, about a half-mile from the downtown casino district.

"We suspect it is blood," Reno police commander Ron Holladay said. "We are in the process of determining if it is Brianna's blood. It could be somebody else's blood... We're hopeful that will help us a little bit."

Denison, a freshman at Santa Barbara City College who graduated from Reno High School last spring, was staying with friends who reported her missing about 9 a.m. because her cell phone, purse, shoes and other personal items were left behind.

"At this point in time we do not have anything that points to a specific suspect," Holladay said. He told a crowd of about 150 people who gathered for an update on the probe at the UNR student union Thursday night that people must be wondering why they haven't made the kind of progress fictitious detectives do on the "CSI" television series.

"Everything gets solved in 60 minutes or less on CSI. That is not reality for us," Holladay said. "We have obtained some evidence from the house. But forensic testing ... is something that takes awhile, so you have to be a little patient with us."

About 300 people attended a candlelight vigil at her old school Thursday night in support of her family and law officers trying to find her.

In an appearance Friday on CBS's "The Early Show," Denison's 15-year-old brother, Brighton, and cousin, Ashley Zunino, said they're holding out hope for her safe return.

"We're really doing everything we can and just trying to stay positive and hope that the best will come out," Brighton Denison said. "I'm not sure where she is, but wherever she is, I just hope that she is OK and that we're going to get her back."

Zunino said her missing cousin "sounded really great" when she last talked to her on Wednesday.

"She was really happy to be with her mom ... she sounded really good," Zunino said. "She's not that kind of person - she doesn't just disappear. Someone always knows where she is.

"(Police are) doing everything they can and they're working around the clock really hard on the case to find her," she added.

The family has hired two private investigators and also was seeking psychics, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.

"We're not going to rule out any options," said Lauren Denison, the missing student's aunt.

Police with search dogs have canvassed the neighborhood daily. They expanded the effort Thursday to nearby foothills where they'd not looked before and encouraged residents at the evening forum to continue to come forward with any information that might help find

"It is really the little things that may seem inconsequential to you at the time - a person walking in the neighborhood who doesn't belong. A person who hangs out that doesn't go into a residence. A person watching you when you go out."

Police have ruled out as suspects Denison's boyfriend, who reportedly sent her text messages from Oregon in the hours before her disappearance, as well as a man who gave her friend a ride to the home from a Reno casino that early morning.

Holladay said there did not appear to be "any similarities" between the facts surrounding her disappearance and two unsolved cases of sexual attacks on women in the neighborhood in November and December.

Police said they were in the process of interviewing 93 registered sex offenders who live within a mile of the Reno home where Denison last was seen. Holladay said only one of those was a "Tier 1" offender - the most likely to be a threat - and that he had been contacted and ruled out as a suspect.
Associated Press writer Martin Griffith contributed to this

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-01-25-08 1530EST