Update 4:55 p.m.: Body of female found in Reno, police look for Denison connection | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Update 4:55 p.m.: Body of female found in Reno, police look for Denison connection

RENO, Nev. (AP) ” Police searched for evidence in a field where the body of a woman was found today but declined to speculate whether the body was that of missing 19-year-old college student Brianna Denison.

The body was found about noon in the brush-covered field on the city’s south side near a light industrial area, Reno police spokesman Steve Frady said.

About 45 law enforcement and crime lab personnel, including three FBI agents, were at the scene, he said.

Frady said the time and cause of death would be determined by an autopsy. Authorities have “no ID, not even a tentative ID,” he said.

“I’m not going to speculate because we don’t know who the person is,” Frady said.

“We’re processing this as a crime scene. We do that with death investigations,” he told The Associated Press. “They are gathering information and evidence and photographing the area.”

Investigators have not indicated whether they believe the woman died from natural causes or was slain, Frady said.

“We don’t know how long the body has been out there. It’s definitely a female. We don’t know the age,” he said. “It’s really not the time to speculate. This is a time for fact finding.”

Crime lab technicians gathered evidence from the body as about a dozen officers walked in straight lines doing a grid search in the vacant two-acre field grown over with waist-high brush and weeds.

“Obviously, we want to comb every inch of ground for any clue that may help tell the story what happened here,” Frady said.

Washoe County District Attorney Dick Gammick also was on the scene. Police planned a news briefing for 5 p.m., but Frady said it was unlikely the body would be identified until at least Saturday.

Denison was abducted Jan. 20 by a serial rapist linked by DNA to a string of attacks near the University of Nevada, Reno campus.

Denison, a student at Santa Barbara (Calif.) City College who was visiting her hometown over winter break, was last seen sleeping on a couch at a friend’s off-campus rental house.

Police have said DNA evidence links Denison’s kidnapping to two other attacks on women near the university late last year, and that an earlier on-campus attack also could be related.

A worker from a nearby business spotted the body while walking back from lunch and told a supervisor, who telephoned investigators.

The field is within a light industrial park with commercial office buildings and businesses. It’s bordered by an upscale neighborhood about five miles south of the home where Denison last was seen.


Associated Press writer Martin Griffith contributed to this report.

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