Website Launched For Brianna

By: Auburn Hutton Email
By: Auburn Hutton Email

So far, the investigation into the disappearance of Brianna has included forensics, police interviews and even lie detectors. Search teams have used dogs, horses and other equipment to help find the missing woman. Today, technology was added to that list. A website was launched in Brianna's name this morning. WWW.BRIANNADENISON.COM is dedicated to the safe return of the missing coed.

It's not the only place you can read about Brianna online, but the family says it's a go-to location to find out the latest information about Brianna...and how you can help bring her home. They say it's just one more way to spread the message, while Brianna is still missing.

Local volunteers continued to search for Brianna the old-fashioned way. Binoculars and ski poles helped one group scan the landscape at Rock Park. Most of the volunteers say they too are parents...and while some felt it seemed gruesome to search the river's banks for Brianna, they say it was the least they could do.

"You know, the reality is, you're trying to find this girl and bring her back home. It's not just for her. It's for the whole community, period," said father and volunteer, Dino Fiorello of Reno.

Back at the Find Bri headquarters, volunteers prepared for their next assignment, and Brianna's family remained optimistic. Bri's aunt Lauren talked about the newly launched website. It features recent photos of Brianna, police reports, and links to other agencies.

"I think it will allow people that may feel out of the loop, who haven't picked up a newspaper but are sitting in front of their computer to know what's happening and how things are changing, minute by minute," said Lauren Denison.

Chain letters have also hit the worldwide Internet. Tens of thousands of email recipients are finding suspect descriptions in their inbox. Crime bloggers continue to speculate on the case, reaching readers across the nation. And if you think there's been enough media saturation of the missing teen's story already, organizers say that's precisely the point. Search Director Brad Dennis says over 2,000 young people go missing in the U.S. everyday...and of those, he remembers searches where the Internet became a crime-solving tool.

"People out there had information, and for whatever reason had never shared that information. As soon as the website came up, or there was a blog put up, all of the sudden they communicated that information."

Organizers from the "Klaas Kids Foundation" and "Laura Recovery Center for Missing Children" set up a command center in Downtown Reno, bringing in hundreds of local volunteers to help staff it.

The command center opened at 9 AM Tuesday morning, but by eight a.m. there was already a line outside the door.

Hundreds of local volunteers showed up at the Brianna Search Center, each of them with their own reason for helping out.

"I have kids and I know if one of them went missing. I would pray that everyone would come out and try to locate them," said volunteer Kristi Sprinkle.

Some volunteers tied blue ribbons, with the words, "Got Bri?" on them, others looked over maps of ground they needed to cover.

Much like the headquarters of a major fire or disaster, charts were used to organize a plan of attack.

Brad Dennis of Klaas Kids Foundation organizes searches for about 50 families each year.

He says even if volunteers don't find Brianna, these type of community efforts are still a success, in his mind.

"They're successful because you engage a community into a search effort. Are there recoveries? Yes. Are there still open cases? Yes. That's the dynamics of what we deal with. But I feel there are tangible and intangible benefits of a search like this."

Brianna's Uncle, John Zunino, says he's grateful to all the volunteers, but the search effort makes him anxious.

He says he doesn't want a volunteer to find Brianna's body, but instead, he hopes they find more clues to help police.

"My concern is my niece. I just want to put my arms around her and hold her to me and never let her go. I want her home safe."

One group of locals covered every inch of Bartley Ranch, checking in snow-covered brush for any sign of Brianna or her belongings.

Volunteers say they were told to look for trash bags, lumps in the snow, or anything else that looked suspicious.

Volunteer Sherri Long says "I've been following the case pretty closely. I have a 19-year-old and a 22-year-old, both girls. It's just been on my mind 24/7. I just wanted to do whatever I could to help."

Other search groups were spread out across the community, some as far as Washoe Valley.

Volunteers say they literally had a grid of almost every inch of Reno and Sparks, their plan is to try and cover all of it.

They plan to get started again Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m.

To volunteer, you need to be 18-years old and in good health.

Volunteers must provide a valid picture I.D. to the Circus Circus Convention Center.

Organizers will brief volunteers and set up searchers with locations to be scoured.


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