Brianna Denison's Uncle on Break in the Case

This is a rush transcript from "The Big Story With John Gibson and Heather Nauert," January 28, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JOHN GIBSON, CO-HOST: We begin tonight with breaking news out of Reno, Nevada: A major break in the case of missing college student, Brianna Denison. Police are calling it a huge lead. They have just linked the disappearance of the 19- year-old to another crime in the Reno area in December.

HEATHER NAUERT, CO-HOST: DNA evidence that was collected at the home where Denison vanished more than a week, positively matched the DNA that was gathered by investigators after the sexual assault of another female student. That assault occurred just blocks away and it took place last month.


RON HOLLADAY, RENO, NV POLICE COMMANDER: Our chances of capturing this person are, in fact, exponentially increased especially as a result of the DNA, and we have to point out that the Washoe County crime lab has done an excellent job in processing the scene, and that's how we managed to get that.


NAUERT: The man the police are now focusing on is a white male in his 20's with brown hair. He was once seen driving an extended cab pickup truck or an SUV with a dome light above the windshield. Also in his car, a baby's shoe. We're going to talk to Brianna's uncle, John Zunino in just a moment but first let's start with former NYPD detective and FOX News contributor, Bo Dietl. Bo, we're learning a lot from police about this guy and about the match here. What does this new information mean?

BO DIETL, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: Well, I think it's very, very important to realize now. Now you have DNA from the sexual abuse of this other gal matches up to the pillowcase blood that was found when this other girl disappears. It is the same person that committed both of these crimes. Now, we have to find out who the person is. On the first sexual abuse case she's very definitive on the description who sexually abused her.

NAUERT: She goes so far as to say the guy didn't have smoker's breath, no alcohol, no bad breath, no cologne, no aftershave. I mean this is very -

DIETL: And she talks about the description of his jaw and all that. So what we have now is the same person that committed these two crimes. We're hoping that the other girl who disappears is still alive and we all want to wish that she's still alive but we have that same person. Now what we have to do is have that DNA pop up. Like we have in New York State, they try to pass laws, anyone arrested for a misdemeanor has to give their DNA and their fingerprints which is so important, and this proves about this if that DNA on file, if this person was arrested before, they put it right into the computer and spit it out.

NAUERT: Got it. Why didn't cops say anything about this sooner, that they were concerned that these cases could be linked? We asked them about last week, they waved us off.

DIETL: Well, you know, as a detective who used to investigate homicides and people who are victims of crimes, we, the detectives don't want let the news know everything they have. They might be closing in on a suspect as we're talking right now. But they're not going to tell the news right now. All I know is definitive. We have the same person that committed a crime on two different people which is — it's good news as far as -

GIBSON: Let's go and talk to Brianna's uncle, John Zunino. John, this bit of news means what to you and your family?

JOHN ZUNINO, BRIANNA'S UNCLE: Well, it's our first big bit of sight of hope. We're actually very excited about it and hoping that this man was going to even return Brianna last night. We were setting up any minute for a return.

GIBSON: Why would you have thought that? What hint was there that he might be bringing her back?

ZUNINO: Well, I really don't see a choice for this man right now. It's like, he either returns Brianna or, you know, he's going to be facing, you know, life charges.

GIBSON: Did you — is there anything that you can tell us that hasn't come in what we already know, the details that Heather read about the physical description of this guy from the other victim, or that we have learned from police today? What else do you know, John?

ZUNINO: Well, it's al there on the Web site. It's exactly what they just said before me. I'm hoping that Brianna, you know, she's lived by if you do good, good comes to you. I believe this man had, you know bad circumstances in his life. I'm very sorry for that, but, you know, let Brianna go, you know. There's people here that will help you.

GIBSON: Bo, if you got the feeling that, all right, they know- they have a general description of the guy, they don't know who he is, they got his DNA, is this somebody, Bo, that they're going to close in on, or is he really a lone wolf on the run that they're really going to have a hard time catching up to?

DIETL: Well, from the description of the first gal there, with the description of the vehicle and all that, I think you could close down and you can minimize your search down to a certain area. You can minimize it to the motor vehicles, trying to track down who owns trucks that look like that and you can have other people now. They can ask for the public's help. If someone knows someone has a truck that looks like that, they call the police. They have the hotlines, the tip lines and now we follow through. If we start to focus in on a person who's a suspect, we find out that that person had been arrested before, and then, we find out where they have been arrested. They have fingerprints. You see, that's the biggest problem is DNA is not required in every state from everyone, and this is a perfect example, if we had to have it on -

GIBSON: But Bo, how specific is this information, the guy is described between 20 and 40. That's a 20-year span. That's lot of men. And we've got a description of a vehicle that includes both the pickup or an SUV.

DIETL: Well, I think you have a real good h description of the man from the first victim and as far as I'm concerned with that physical description from the first victim. Once, they located him, she could possibly identify him in the lineup and possibly say, yeah, that's the one that sexually abused me. Now, if we have her admitting that that's the person, we know that's the same person that abducted the other young lady. So, this is something positive. It's a lot more than before we got this. So, again, the police are keeping it close to the vest. I think that it's not that big of an area. It's not as New York City. It's a rural area there. And I think that you're going to be able to flag people a lot easier there.

NAUERT: And somebody in Reno, Nevada has to know something, with a baby's shoe in the car. This man —

DIETL: And he has a light, I believe there's a light on the dashboard.

NAUERT: About five-six.

DIETL: The most important thing right here now is the people. If you think of someone that fits that description, had a car like that, call the police hotline. Let's all help. Because the eyes and ears of the cops are you out there and everyone has to help.

NAUERT: Bo Dietl so much, and John Zunino, thank you so much and we wish you the best of luck in finding your niece.

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