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Feb-19-2008 19:29printcomments

Nevada Police Seek Clues in Female Student's Death

An autopsy has determined the remains of a female discovered in a Southwest Reno field Friday are those of 19-year old Brianna Denison who was abducted January 20th.

19-year old Brianna Denison
19-year old Brianna Denison

(RENO, Nevada) - An autopsy has determined the remains of a female discovered in a Southwest Reno field Friday are those of 19-year old Brianna Denison who was abducted from a friends’ residence in Reno in the early morning hours of January 20th.

Police said the official cause and manner of death was due to strangulation making this a murder investigation. Police also estimated the full autopsy report would not be completed for several weeks due to pending protocols that include toxicology and other tests.

An employee of a business at a light industrial complex discovered the remains in an adjacent brush covered field on the south side of Sandhill Drive between Double R Boulevard and Prototype Drive, and reported the finding at about 12:13 PM Friday.

Responding Reno Police Patrol officers found the remains about six minutes later and began to cordon off and secure the area around the site, estimated at about 2-3 acre. The site is located about eight miles south of the residence from which Denison was abducted.

Investigation of the scene on Friday was conducted by Reno Police detectives, Washoe County Sheriff’s detectives, crime scene investigators from the Washoe County Crime Lab and members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office RAVEN Helicopter assisted with the investigation through aerial observation and photography of the site.

The location was secured by law enforcement officers throughout the night. A search of some nearby open fields was conducted by Reno Police officers on Friday. A search dog went over the area where the body was discovered early Saturday morning. That area was also later searched by members of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team who also conducted searches other nearby open fields.

At a news conference at the Reno Police Department Saturday, Police officials expressed their condolences to the family of Brianna Denison and thanked the numerous volunteers, organizations and law enforcement agencies that have cooperated in the search for Denison since her disappearance.

Reno Deputy Police Chief Jim Johns also asked the community to continue to focus on the identification and capture of the suspect in Denison’s abduction and death. "We’re asking the public to be observant and look for behavioral changes in people who match the description of the suspect, even in people they don’t think could commit such a crime."

Johns said those signs can include people who suddenly become overly anxious or nervous, who suddenly quit their job or move away without explanation or who unexpectedly sell a vehicle matching the suspect vehicle description. Johns said those changes could have occurred in January or even recently.

The suspect is described as a white male, approximately 28 - 40 years of age, 5’6” tall or taller, possibly up to 6 feet tall, with a long face with a square chin and brown head of hair with an undetermined style. The suspect was reported to have facial hair in December, about a quarter to half-an-inch long below his chin was soft and not prickly as stubble normally is. It is unknown if there was a mustache at the time. Police note the suspect may have shaved his face by now.

The suspect also has a Shaved pubic region, an "innie" belly button, a belly that was described as not excessively large and firm but not flabby, and a light covering of hair on his arms. He is said to have a normal speech with no accent or regional dialect.

The suspect vehicle is described as an extended cab pick-up truck or SUV with an interior dome light above the windshield. The vehicle is tall enough that it requires a step up to gain entry, but that step is not an added "aftermarket" step.

There is a floor-mounted console described as "fairly skinny" that opens in front, and The radio has blue and red LED read-out. The vehicle also has cloth seats and an automatic transmission. There was a baby shoe on the front seat floor board, and 8 ½” x 11” white pieces of paper with typing on the floor board of the front seat.

Anyone with information about the investigation is being asked to contact either the Secret Witness Program at (775) 322-4900, or the Reno Police Department’s 24-hour tip line at (775) 745-3521.

DNA evidence from the scene of Denison’s abduction has been linked to DNA evidence from an abduction and sexual assault that occurred nearby on December 16th, and a sexual assault that occurred on November 13th. The victim in the December 16 assault was also the victim of an attempted burglary at her residence on January 19th, the day before Brianna Denison was abducted.

University of Nevada Reno Police are working with Reno Police to determine if there is a link to another sexual assault that occurred in a UNR parking garage on October 22nd.




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Hannah June 20, 2014 12:05 pm (Pacific time)

That was quit a lot of details about his vehicle. Its good to know police can give out information like that... Its 2014 now... Has he been found?


kelly March 1, 2008 5:02 pm (Pacific time)

I am so sad, but i know she is in a better place... although it wasnt her time to leave us.


polino February 22, 2008 1:44 pm (Pacific time)

omg....dat iz like soo sad dude....rets in peace bri....even though i dont knoe you but you will allwayZ remain in mi heart....

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