Ten Months After Murder, Police to Announce Arrest

Reno police expected to announce arrest in case of murdered college student.

ByABC News
November 26, 2008, 10:50 AM

Nov. 26, 2008— -- Reno police are expected to announce the arrest of a suspect in the rape and murder of a 19-year-old college student whose body was found in February, a month after she disappeared.

A news conference was scheduled for today at 1:30 p.m. EST.

Police have described Brianna Denison's killer as a serial rapist. When Denison's body was found in a vacant field in southeast Reno, a pair of panties that did not belong to the teen were found nearby.

"This man is dangerous," Reno Police Lt. Robert McDonald told ABC News in February. "There is nothing more dangerous I can think of as a predator who prowls at night and looks for crimes of opportunity. And he's preying on women who are substantially smaller and weaker than he is."

At the time, Reno police believed the person who killed Denison was tied to a string of other attacks in the area, First were two quick sexual assaults in public places. Then, the suspect allegedly took a victim in his vehicle to a secluded place and raped her before dropping her back near her house.

The Denison case was the most frightening and bold crime, with the suspect entering a house rented by one of the victim's college-aged friends in the early morning of Jan. 20 and abducting Denison, whose body was recovered nearly a month later.

The autopsy on Denison's body found that she had been strangled. She had been in the field, about eight miles from the house where she was last seen, for more than a week, concealed by a recent snowfall.

From a description by a previous victim, police described the suspect as being roughly in his 30s, with a square chin and muscular build. He had an "innie" belly button, police said. He had some facial hair and spoke with no noticeable regional dialect, according to the victim.

The man was driving a large vehicle, likely an extended cab pickup that requires a step to climb into. One victim recalled a baby shoe on the floor of the vehicle and paper strewn about. In all of the incidents, the suspect was wearing casual clothing, such as a hooded sweatshirt or jersey and warm-up style pants.