ISSAQUAH, Wash. – A convicted sex offender is in custody as a person of interest in the case of a missing 12-year-old girl — and Tacoma police said Wednesday that the man being held is not the only lead in the case.
Investigators are still tracking down information coming from requests for tips from the public about Zina Linnik, according to spokesman Mark Fulghum.
Linnik was abducted near her home the night of the Fourth of July. She had been watching fireworks when a family member heard her scream and saw a van speed away.
The person of interest is a 42-year-old sex offender from Thailand. He's currently being held for failing to register for an immigration violation and denies any involvement in Zina's disappearance.
A search warrant reports investigators on Monday found a girl's undergarments at his home, where he lives alone. He responded to that news by saying he was remodeling the home for his sister.
Investigators also seized a gray van to search for evidence, and the man admitted he had recently changed the license plate.
A tip led investigators to search Tuesday at the Tiger Mountain State Forest near Issaquah. A helicopter and dozens of people, some with dogs, took part in the search. Teams wrapped up late Tuesday night, and Fulghum reported police were checking a towel and trash that were found, but that the items may not be connected to the case.
A command post has been set up along Highway 18, according to Fulghum. The FBI is helping with the investigation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.