Blue Ribbons For Brianna

After a night out on January 20th, 2008 Brianna Denison slept over at a friends house on the couch whilst the rest of the friends slept in their rooms upstairs. The next morning Denison was nowhere to be seen but her phone, clothing and shoes were still in the home but the most concerning thing was the discovery of a dark stain that was believed to be blood on the pillow she had used. One of the friends called Denison’s mother and the police were called.

After the police arrived they began looking for evidence and they found an unknown males DNA on the front doorknob and they confirmed that it was Denison’s blood on the pillow. Soon after, detectives realised that the unknown males DNA on the doorknob was also linked to two unsolved sexual assaults in the area. And then another sexual assault victim who was assaulted at gunpoint in October 2007 came forward and police believed that they had a sexual predator on their hands.

To track down the perpetrator police began interviewing all the known sex offenders in the area but they were unable to find any link between them and Denison’s disappearance. Police then decided to began a physical search that covered 260 square kilometres with over 1,700 volunteers to help but they found nothing. On January 29th, police released a sketch of a suspect that they had drawn up from the three sexual assault victims.

Then on February 15th, 2008 Albert Jimenez was walking back to work after his lunch break when he noticed what he thought was a mannequin with orange socks on under some tree branches but once he got closer he realised that it was a human body. Jimenez didn’t have his mobile on him so he ran to work and called the police who came out and confirmed that the body was Brianna Denison. A pair of underwear with the DNA of an unknown male and an unknown female was found next to Denison’s body. An autopsy revealed that Denison had been assaulted then murdered.

Then there was a huge break in the case when police were given a tip from a woman who said that her friend had found an unknown woman’s pair of underwear in her boyfriend’s car, police then realised that they had a DNA sample from the man in question. That man was James Biela and he had been arrested in 2001 for threatening someone with a knife. Police tested the DNA and it was a match to the DNA from the unsolved sexual assault cases so police went to see Biela to get a new DNA sample from him but he refused so detectives tried something different, they asked Biela’s girlfriend if they could take a DNA sample from their son and she agreed. The DNA from their son showed that Biela’s DNA was a match to the DNA found at the Denison crime scene.

On November 25th, 2008 James Biela was arrested whilst dropping his son off at daycare. Biela was charged with kidnapping, sexual assault and murder. Biela was found guilty on May 27th, 2010 after the jury deliberated for nine hours. Although Biela tried to avoid the death penalty by saying he had been abused as a child, the jury still gave him the death penalty and four life sentences.

Rest In Peace Brianna Denison.

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