RENO, Nev. – The family of missing 19-year-old college student Brianna Denison, who mysteriously vanished from a Reno, Nev., home early Sunday morning, are still hoping she will return, despite police running into a dead end.
Although they continue to do interviews with national media outlets, putting on a strong public face, Denison's family is determined.
"We have completely decided to keep this alive for Brianna," Lauren Denison, Brianna's aunt, told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "We are real people with real emotions ... but we have put them on the back burner to be strong to do what it takes to get her back. But we are hurting."
Denison's family hopes national media attention will encourage anyone who knows something to come forward, and will ultimately lead to her being reunited with them.
"We know that someone will see her and that they will get her back to us," said Lauren Denison, on NBC's "Today" show Thursday.
Investigators have questioned Denison's current boyfriend, as well as the man who drove her friend back to the house she was staying at after a night of partying at the Sands.
Police said both are not suspects.
"Basically, Brianna has disappeared. She has fallen off the face of the Earth," said Adam Garcia, campus police chief at the University of Nevada, Reno.
"From our perspective, we don't have any credible leads in which to follow up at this point," he told a Reno radio station Wednesday night.
Police said she was sleeping near an unlocked glass door after a night of partying. When her friends awoke later that morning, she was gone — but her clothes, purse and cell phone were left behind.
Police with search dogs have canvassed the neighborhood a half-mile north of the downtown casino district since Monday but have found no sign of the young woman.
"All the indicators are that Brianna has been abducted. It is our sincere hope that she'll come walking in the door any minute, but the longer it goes, the less the chances are of that occurring," said Ron Holladay, a Reno police commander.
Two of her friends, Jessica Deal and K.T. Hunter, said they started making breakfast Sunday morning when they saw Denison's personal items.
"We started piecing together later that hour that everything was still there," Deal said. "There is no way she left voluntarily."
Detectives were awaiting test results on whether a silver dollar-sized stain on the pillow Denison was using is blood.
Denison, who grew up in Reno, is a student at Santa Barbara City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. Friends and family say she was at home over the winter break and had planned to return to school this week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.