Bring Bri Justice Center Opens

By: Joe Harrington Email
By: Joe Harrington Email

More than eight months after 19-year-old Brianna Denison's body was found in a south Reno field, a foundation aims to keep a spotlight on the unsolved murder case.

The Bri Bring Justice Foundation opened it's center in the Smithridge shopping plaza Saturday. Brianna's family hopes the center will keep the community focused on the case. Having a fixed location may have already garnered new clues.

"We had two different people come in that felt like they had some information that needed to get to the police department," Lauren Denison, Brianna's aunt, said.

While information is coming in, shirts and other items are going out. The sales fund legislative efforts and safety awareness education for kids and young women, according to the foundation.

Valarie Van Antwerp, the vice president of Bri Bri Justice Foundation, said the organization will try to encourage the state to pay for the processing of DNA samples from felons.

"The state needs to pick up the tab for that, so we're gonna try really hard it's gonna be a difficult legislative session to get anything that costs money," she said.

While DNA samples are being collected by law enforcement, processing the samples so they can be compared to open cases is not currently funded.

Authorities have a DNA sample they believe belongs to Denison's killer. Donations were made so it could be compared to a backlog of unprocessed DNA samples.

Brianna's mother, a representative from the Reno Police Department, officials from UNR's campus escort program, and Nevada First Lady Dawn Gibbons were on-hand for the grand opening of the new center. Events at the opening included: fingerprinting for kids and face painting. Denison's family said they want to thank the community for all its efforts to help them.

"We're taking the energy that this community had for the Brianna case and we're doing something to try to give back to the community," Van Antwerp said.

"This work for me really helps to stay focused and really not let her name die in vain," Lauren Denison said.


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