Fast forward to 2008…

Once again, another 19-year-old female university student has been discovered strangled. In this instance, the victim was found in a field in Reno, Nevada.

A few things worth noting when you read the article below:

  • Manner of death: abduction and strangulation
  • Brianna Denison’s body was found only 8 miles from where she was staying
  • The number of law enforcement agencies involved in the search/investigation
  • The fact that the police asked the public to be on the lookout for “suspects who…suddenly quit their job or move away without explanation…”
  • Reno Police have a “Secret Witness Program”
  • Brianna’s murder may be linked to other sexual assaults and crimes in the area

Nevada Police Seek Clues in Female Student’s Death
Salem-News.com (Feb. 19, 2008)
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.

(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.

….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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