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Crime & Courts

FBI seeks help in several states in finding man suspected in Wyoming girl's abduction

The FBI on Friday asked people in Wyoming and surrounding states for help in finding a man suspected of kidnapping a girl from the town of Cody and sexually assaulting her earlier this week.

The man lured the 11-year-old girl into his SUV on Monday evening by claiming he needed help finding a missing puppy, Cody police said. He later threatened her with a pistol.

A group of hunters found her in a rural area outside the town several hours later.

Based on witness statements and video footage from cameras around Cody, investigators believe the vehicle is believed to be a 2004 or 2005 white Toyota 4-Runner, said Dave Joly, an FBI spokesman in Denver.

Footage shows a removable, silver and black rooftop cargo box on top of the vehicle. Investigators said Friday that they found the cargo box abandoned near where the girl was released.

The suspect is a white man, between 55 and 60, weighing 185 to 200 pounds, with short, light hair and trimmed facial hair, authorities said.

Surveillance photos weren't of high enough quality to discern a license plate number or see what state the plate was from, Joly said.

Federal authorities have authority over the case under federal kidnapping laws — even if the perpetrator didn't cross state lines in commission of the crime — because of the age of the victim, Joly said.

Authorities investigating last week's disappearance of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway from the Denver suburb of Westminster initially had looked for a possible connection between her presumed abduction and the abduction of the Cody girl. The FBI now says it doesn't believe the cases are related.

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