Searchers scour Hilltop area for girl, 12

July 9, 2007 

Police detectives and search-and-rescue workers continued to focus Sunday on the Hilltop neighborhood where Zina Linnik disappeared last week, but there still was no sign of the missing 12-year-old girl, a Tacoma police spokesman said.

“Until something comes along that points us there, that’s the crime scene, that’s the starting point,” Mark Fulghum said.

FBI agents Saturday night randomly flagged down cars near Zina’s home in the 2500 block of South J Street to talk with drivers about the case, he said. The stops yielded some leads that investigators are looking into, Fulghum said.

Zina disappeared on the night of the Fourth of July after she left a group of children watching fireworks in the alley, her family said. She stayed behind when the rest of the group walked down the alley to look at something.

Her father, Michael Linnik, told investigators he heard a scream from the alley behind the family’s house about 9:45 p.m., ran outside and saw a gray van speeding away.

Police are still looking to talk to two males seen at a bus stop near Zina’s home at about the time she disappeared Wednesday. Investigators think they would have had a good look at a van that Zina’s father saw driving away from the Linniks’ home. The gray van is described as an older-model, possibly a Toyota or Volkswagen, with a license plate containing the numbers 1677.

Besides the Hilltop, searchers have looked through wooded and other areas not heavily walked, but they haven’t had any success, Fulghum said.

“It’s just kind of a slow process,” he said.

Seen her?

Zina is 4-feet-10 inches tall, 80 pounds and has blond hair. She was last seen wearing a pink T-shirt, pink-orange-and-yellow capri pants and flip-flop sandals.

Anyone with information about Zina’s disappearance or whereabouts is urged to call Tacoma police at 253-830-6508 or visit www.washington There is a $16,000 reward for information in the case.

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