Child Murder Case In Reno May Be Linked To Another

Monica DaSilva
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RENO, NV - Twenty years after a seven-year-old Reno girl was kidnapped and murdered, investigators are following a new lead, a possible link to a similar case in Las Vegas.

It's one of the Reno area's most disturbing unsolved cases, one that coincided with the kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard, further terrifying nothern Nevada parents.

The latest lead involves possible links with a similar case in southern Nevada.

Seven year old Monica DaSilva was taken from her bedroom in a first floor apartment on Idlewild Drive in Reno September 23, 1990m whle other family members slept nearby.

Her skull, ribs and collarbone were found a few weeks later in Lagomarsino Canyon, east of town. At the time, forensic specialists judged them too decomposed to be her, a mistake that wasn't discovered until a year had passed.

Her disappearance followed other cases of missing and murdered kids and the announcement that her remains had been identified came several weeks after Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped from a South Lake Tahoe street.

Her case prompted formation of a Major Crimes Task Force in Washoe County. An intense investigation initially centered on Monica DaSilva's parents. They were eventually cleared of all suspicion.

The case remained unsolved, but not forgotten. Today it's assigned to Reno Police Detective Allan Fox and he's working with counterparts in North Las Vegas on possible links to the November 1986 kidnapping and murder of another seven year old girl, April Marie Rhodes.

The similarities between the cases are striking. Both were taken from their bedrooms while other family members slept, their disappearances not discovered until the next day.

April Rhodes' body was found in a storage room a short distance away. She had been sexually assaulted and bludgeoned to death.

Fox says there's no known link between the two vicitms' families though they "traveled in the same circles" and possibly knew some of the same people.

Press conferences in both cities are planned for Thursday. Hopefully, Fox says, putting both cases before the public again could generate solid leads and at long last bring both families justice.