RENO — Reno police said they’re making a renewed push to find more women who might be linked to a man arrested in the slaying of a 19-year-old college student and the abduction and rape of another college student.
James Michael Biela, 27, of Sparks, was arrested Tuesday and booked into the Washoe County jail on suspicion of killing Brianna Denison early this year. He’s also charged with the kidnapping and sexual assault of another woman in Reno last December.
Investigators also suspect Biela sexually attacked two other college students in Reno cases in which he has not been charged.
Detectives issued a public plea for women who were sexually assaulted from late 2007 through March to step forward if they have not already reported the crimes.
McDonald said authorities in Washington and Idaho also are revisiting unsolved sexual crimes for any ties to Biela.
Police said after Denison’s body was found Feb. 15 in Reno, Biela quit his job there and moved to Lake Moses, Wash., to work as a pipe fitter.
In Idaho, Biela sold his truck, which was similar to the truck that the December victim described to police. He then bought another truck.
Because Biela’s estranged girlfriend found women’s underwear in his new truck in September, McDonald suspects Biela victimized more women.
Denison, 19, a sophomore at Santa Barbara City College in California, was visiting her hometown during winter break when she vanished Jan. 20.
Her body was found almost a month later in a brush-covered lot in south Reno. An autopsy showed she was raped and strangled.