While police continue to search for 19-year-old Brianna Denison, scientific evidence has brought them closer to solving the case. DNA samples have linked Brianna's kidnapping to at least two sexual assaults and abductions in the same neighborhood. All three of these crimes have taken place in just the past few months.
The first attack took place in mid November, and the most recent one was the abduction of Brianna just eight days ago. Police say with each incident, the crimes escalated, and it seems, the attacker became more and more aggressive.
Police say on November 13th, a female UNR student was attacked while walking home. She fought back and escaped. One month later, another young woman was kidnapped and forced to perform oral sex. On January 20th, Briana Denison disappeared from 1395 Mackay Court, leaving behind nothing more than a few small blood spots. Each assault took place somewhere in UNR neighborhood, and each victim was a petite, young student.
"I am friends with girls and we are all pretty little. You just never know. You don't know if it's going to happen to you or someone you are close to. It's just creepy," said UNR student Melanie Nowlin.
Police passed out updated descriptions of Brianna and her kidnapper, hoping someone will come forward. They continue to comb the neighborhood, revisiting homes and searching for suspicious behavior.
"There are clues. There is evidence that is out there. We just haven't found all of it yet," said Jon Catalano, a commander with Reno PD.
Police say the Denison case, and the other assaults in question have become priority. Police officers are working twelve hour shifts, and in some cases, volunteering on their days off, hoping to help solve the mystery.
"They're becoming, well right from the start, very emotionally involved in the case. Nobody wants to give up. Nobody's going to quit," said Catalano.
UNR police are also warning women to watch out. If the same man is responsible for three separate assaults, there's no telling if, or when he could attack again.
"They just can't have that 'it'll never happen to me' attitude. If you develop that attitude, you've forgotten about safety. You're not using it to your benefit and it's not a priority in your life. Your chances of becoming a victim are fairly high," said Todd Renwick with University Police Services.
Police have not released a name or a sketch of the man they think may have taken Brianna, but they do have a description of what he may look like. They say he also may not have a criminal history, and people who know him might not think he is capable of committing this type of crime.