Police: SBCC student kidnapped


Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 1:51 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 1:51 p.m.

RENO, Nev. - Police say they believe a 19-year-old college student who mysteriously disappeared from a friend's home over the weekend was kidnapped.

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This undated picture made available via The Reno Gazette-Journal shows Brianna Denison. Reno police said Monday, Jan. 21, 2008 they believe the young woman, who disappeared from a friend's home early Sunday morning, was kidnapped. Denison, 19, was last seen around 4 a.m. Sunday when she went to sleep on a couch at a friend's home near the University of Nevada, Reno.

The Reno Gazette-Journal/The Associated Press

Brianna Denison was last seen around 4 a.m. Sunday when she went to sleep on her friend's couch after a night of partying.

Police Lt. Robert McDonald said drops of blood were left on a pillow she used and a teddy bear her friend gave her is missing. The home's front door had been left unlocked overnight, he said.

Family members Monday night pleaded for help and her safe return. They described Denison as caring and responsible.

"This gives us fear, knowing the type of person she is," Lauren Denison said of her niece. "She would contact us if she could. We adore her and want her back."

Denison is a psychology student at Santa Barbara City College in Santa Barbara, Calif., and was back in her hometown of Reno for winter break.

In the hours before her disappearance, Denison had been party-hopping at venues associated with a weekend snowboarding event, including attending a rap concert at the Sands Hotel and Casino.

Investigators want to talk to a man who dropped off a friend of Denison's at the home that night, McDonald said.

The friend had approached the man at the casino for a ride after the concert, but the man did not come inside the home, he said. The man is not a suspect but is being sought for questioning.

Denison's friend, K.T. Hunter, told the Reno Gazette-Journal that the couch is against the wall of the bedroom where she was sleeping with her dog.

She said she never heard a noise and that the dog never barked.

Hunter said Denison was sober the night she vanished, and had planned to pack Monday to go back to Santa Barbara.

Investigators also were looking into the possibility that her disappearance is related to attacks against two female students at the University of Nevada, Reno, late last year. Both women were grabbed from behind and sexually assaulted in the early morning hours in November and December. No arrests have been made.

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