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Missing college student abducted, police say

Police say they believe a 19-year-old college student who mysteriously disappeared from a friend's home over the weekend was kidnapped.
Image: Brianna Denison, missing since Sunday
This undated picture shows Brianna Denison. Reno police said Monday that they believe the woman, who disappeared from a friend's home early Sunday morning, was kidnapped.Friends via The Reno Gazette-Journal
/ Source: The Associated Press

Investigators went door to door Tuesday searching for a 19-year-old college student who they believe was kidnapped from a friend's home over the weekend.

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. She slept near an unlocked glass door and used a 2-foot-tall teddy bear as an extra pillow, police said.

When the friend awoke, Denison and the teddy bear were gone. Her purse, cell phone and clothes, including two pairs of shoes, were undisturbed, police said.

"We have not come up with any other clues, any of the items or anything that would lead us to Brianna at this time," police Lt. Ron Holladay.

Detectives were awaiting test results on whether a stain on the pillow she was using was blood.

The FBI and two investigators from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children joined the search Tuesday. Police aided by helicopters and dogs scoured the neighborhoods near the home.

The search teams planned to concentrate on a park near the home before a snowstorm later Tuesday, police spokesman Steve Frady said.

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

"It gives us a little bit of fear because that is the type of person Brianna is; she would be contacting us if she could," 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.

Dog never barked
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.

Reno police Tuesday also said there doesn’t appear to be a connection between Denison’s disappearance and separate attacks late last year on two female students near the University of Nevada-Reno campus.