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Sheriff: 'No chance we'll find Dru alive'

DNA of blood in suspect's car matches Sjodin's, he says

Dru Sjodin has been missing since November 22.
Dru Sjodin has been missing since November 22.

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CNN's Jeff Flock gives an update in the case of Dru Sjodin, the missing college student in North Dakota (December 8)
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GRAND FORKS, North Dakota (CNN) -- The sheriff heading up the investigation of a North Dakota college student's disappearance said Tuesday that he doesn't think 22-year-old Dru Sjodin will be found alive.

"It looks, at this time ... like there's no chance we're going to find Dru alive," Grand Forks County Sheriff Dan Hill told reporters. "I believe that it is more of a recovery than a rescue [mission] at this point in time."

Hill said blood found in Alfonso Rodriguez's car matches Sjodin's DNA, and that a four-inch folding knife was also found in the car. A shoe belonging to Sjodin was found beneath a bridge near a river, Hill said.

Rodriguez, 50, has been charged with Sjodin's kidnapping. His maroon, four-door 2002 Mercury Sable was impounded by authorities before his arrest December 1 in Crookston, Minnesota.

Earlier Tuesday, a source confirmed reports that the knife found in the trunk of Rodriguez's car matched a knife sheath found near Sjodin's car in the parking lot of the Grand Forks shopping mall where she vanished November 22.

Sjodin, of Pequot Lakes, Minnesota, was last heard from while talking to her boyfriend on a cell phone that day after she left her job at a Victoria's Secret store.

The governors of North Dakota and Minnesota announced that National Guard troops would begin aiding in the search for Sjodin on Friday.

"We're determined to find Dru," North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven said. "This is something that has touched all North Dakotans."

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty added, "This is not over by a long shot, and the search and the efforts continue."

Rodriguez was released from prison in May after serving 23 years for the rapes of two women and attempted rape of another woman.

Asked if Rodriguez was cooperating with authorities, Hill said, "Rodriguez is not talking.

"Rodriguez has been out of society for 23 years, and I guess he just doesn't feel like it's going to help him."

Affidavit reveals details of case

According to a police affidavit unsealed Tuesday, police first interviewed Rodriguez on November 26, just four days after the disappearance, after they received a tip that he was in Grand Forks the day Sjodin disappeared.

The affidavit says during that interview Rodriguez confirmed he was in Grand Forks the afternoon of November 22 and went to the mall. He said he went to the movie "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" at a theater near the mall, and that it ended about 7 p.m. But the affidavit says the movie was not being shown at any theater Grand Forks at that time.

During the interview, police got Rodriguez's consent to search his car and saw a knife in the trunk, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit says blood was found on the passenger-side rear window and in the back seat, as well as two other areas in the passenger compartment.

"The blood did come back. It was a DNA match with Dru from the DNA taken from Dru's toothbrush," the sheriff said.

In addition, a black loafer belonging to Sjodin was found beneath a bridge along the bank of the Red Lake River in the days after her disappearance. The bridge was on a highway heading into Crookston, Rodriguez's hometown, about 25 miles east of Grand Forks.

Nothing else was found near the shoe.

"We felt if the shoe was there, she was possibly there. But ... we did a thorough search and she is not in [the river]," Hill said.

He added, "Exactly how [the shoe] got there, we don't know."

According to the affidavit, surveillance video indicates Sjodin left the mall at 5 p.m., shortly after buying a purse from a Marshall Field's department store.

She was talking on a cell phone with her boyfriend at the time, a call that ended at 5:04 p.m. with her saying, "OK, OK," according to the affidavit. At 7:42 p.m., an outgoing call from her cell phone was made to her boyfriend, but only static could be heard. The call lasted 55 seconds and was made at a rest stop near Crookston, the affidavit says.

At about 11 that same night, police found Sjodin's vehicle in the mall parking lot near a J.C. Penney store. The passenger-side door was unlocked, and the Marshall Field's shopping bag, her credit card and a datebook were still inside, according to the affidavit.

Outside the vehicle, police found a black nylon sheath with the words "tool shop" in white letters on it. The affidavit says the sheath is sold only at a local hardware store as a pair with a folding knife -- the same type found in Rodriguez's vehicle.

Capt. Mike Kirby of the Grand Forks Police Department asked managers of construction and industrial sites Monday to search their properties for "articles of interest, anything suspicious, anything out of the ordinary" and reiterated a plea to landowners to do the same.

"If you find anything out of the ordinary, we're asking that you please to not touch it, simply leave it in place" and call law enforcement.

The interest in construction sites, he said, is based on the fact that Rodriguez was working as a drywall hanger when he was taken into custody.


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