BREAKING NEWS Police Arrest Man Believed to Be Linked to Sex Assault Slaying of Reno Teen Brianna Denison

Police Arrest Man Believed to Be Linked to Sex Assault Slaying of Reno Teen Brianna Denison

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

 Reno Gazette-Journal

Brianna Denison

Brianna Denison

Police arrested a man on murder and other charges who is believed to be connected to the kidnapping and killing of Reno teenager Brianna Denison.

Local affiliate KRNV-TV confirmed that James Biela, 27, was arrested late Tuesday, booked at the Washoe County Jail and charged with murder, first-degree kidnapping and sexual assault.

Reno police wouldn’t immediately disclose whether Biela’s capture was related to the Denison case, according to the station. Investigators will hold a press conference Wednesday to formally announce the arrest.

Click here for photos.

The 19-year-old college student was kidnapped from a friend’s house in January.

Authorities took a DNA sample from Biela and said it would take 12 hours to process, according to local reports.

Police spokesman Steve Frady declined to provide further details, including where the arrest took place, issuing only a one-sentence press releasing about the 1:30 p.m. EST news conference on Wednesday, local media reported.


If Biela is confirmed to be the suspect in the Denison case, his capture would end an exhaustive 10-month manhunt for her killer.

Denison, a sophomore at Santa Barbara City College in California, was abducted about 4:30 a.m. Jan. 20 as she slept in the living room of a friend’s home near the University of Nevada’s Reno campus. Denison had likely been visible through a glass door, according to police.

Her body was found in near a business park in south Reno on Feb. 15 after a massive search. An autopsy determined she had been strangled and left there about a week earlier.

Police said they collected DNA evidence at the crime scene that would link the suspect to her murder and to three other sexually-motivated attacks on women on or near the campus between October and December of 2007.

Denison graduated from Reno High School in 2006. She was visiting her hometown during winter break when she was kidnapped and killed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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