This week investigators in the disappearance of Santa Barbara City College student Brianna Denison announced that DNA evidence found at the scene of her disappearance from a Reno home matches DNA found at the scene of a sexual assault and abduction that occurred just a few blocks away on December 16. The victim of the December 16 assault reportedly told investigators that she was also the victim of an attempted robbery on January 19, but authorities are not certain this is connected to the previous assault or Denison’s disappearance. After interviewing the victim of the assault police were able to form a description of the suspect: a white male in his 30s, whom they believe is responsible for these two assaults, and possibly another.
Denison, 19, went missing in the early morning hours of January 20, leaving little evidence for investigators. Subsequent search efforts by police with dogs and in helicopters have proven fruitless. As for the spot of blood found on Denison’s pillow, crime lab specialists have verified that the blood belonged to Denison, which police say suggests her assailant may have used the pillow to restrain or suffocate her.
In addition to the nationwide media coverage, Denison’s possible kidnapping has generated a swell of support from the public with many people sending the family messages of hope for her safety. Locally, Santa Barbara City College students and faculty held a candlelight vigil Monday night to show support for Denison’s family and friends.
Anyone with information is encourage to call the 24-hour tip line at (775) 745-3521.