Police find no sign yet of girl who disappeared

July 7, 2007 

Law enforcement agencies continued their search Friday for a 12-year-old Tacoma girl missing since Wednesday night.

The Washington State Patrol Troopers Association is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of the girl and the apprehension and prosecution of the person responsible for her apparent abduction.

Zina Linnik was last seen around 9:45 p.m. on July 4 in the alley behind her house in the 2500 block of South J Street. A family member heard a girl scream, and Zina’s father ran out and saw an older-model van speed away.

Police still had no leads or suspects in the case as of Friday evening.

“We don’t have a lot, but we are pressing forward,” said police spokesman Mark Fulghum.

Police said the van was probably a foreign make, perhaps a Toyota or a Volvo, with two square windows in back and a license plate number possibly containing the numbers 1677 or 1667.

Police also broadened their description of the suspect to a man in his 20s or 30s; the father’s brief glimpse wasn’t enough to know for certain that the suspect is Asian, as originally reported.

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies have joined Tacoma police in their search.

Officers have canvassed the Hilltop neighborhood, going door to door asking for information. They have also searched the Port of Tacoma and other areas with bloodhounds and German shepherds.

Convicted sex offenders living within half a mile of the abduction have also been interviewed.

About 60 tips have come in to the Police Department since Thursday.

Fulghum said police apprehended a suspect a few hours after the abduction, but released him after his alibis checked out.

Fulghum appeared Friday evening with Lt. Corey Darlington at the Peace Community Center in Hilltop. About 60 neighbors turned out.

The department wanted to update the public on the search and share the additional information.

“We will do everything we can to find her,” Darlington said.

Zina is 4 feet 10 inches tall, weighs 80 pounds and has blonde hair. She was last seen with her hair in a ponytail and was wearing a pink T-shirt; pink-orange-and-yellow capri pants; and flip-flop sandals.

According to family members, Zina was with a group of children watching fireworks. She stayed behind when the rest of the group walked down the alley to check out something.

Anyone with information about the Zina Linnik case is asked to call Tacoma police at 253-830-6508 or visit www.washingtonamberalert.com.

M. Alexander Otto: 253-597-8616

alex.otto@thenewstribune.com

Staff writer Eijiro Kawada contributed to this report.

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