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Report says missing student's blood found in car

Sjodin's father: 'I can see her waiting for us'

Allan Sjodin, Dru Sjodin's father, looks on as Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. takes his seat in court Thursday.
Allan Sjodin, Dru Sjodin's father, looks on as Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. takes his seat in court Thursday.

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CNN's Jeff Flock has the latest on convicted rapist Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., who wants to stay in custody as he awaits trial on a charge of kidnapping Dru Sjodin. (December 5)
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Linda Walker, mother of missing student Dru Sjodin, appeals to the alleged kidnapper's mother to urge her son to help.
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Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., a convicted rapist, faces a kidnapping charge in the disappearance of Dru Sjodin as hundreds of people search for her.
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Sex Crimes

GRAND FORKS, North Dakota (CNN) -- Allan Sjodin said he was both hurt and encouraged by published reports Friday that his missing daughter's blood was found in the car of a suspect arrested days earlier in her disappearance.

"That certainly put a hurt to us a little bit, but on the other hand, we also found some strength from that, because the search area has shrunk," Dru Sjodin's father told reporters at an afternoon news conference. "We were concerned she could be in who knows where. She might have been thousands of miles away.

"So, now we have a feeling that she is still in our area. That's been our faith all along. We can feel it."

The Pioneer Press newspaper of St. Paul, Minnesota, published a report Friday in which a source close to the investigation was quoted as saying authorities had found the blood in the 2002 maroon Mercury Sable belonging to Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.

Rodriguez, 50, has been charged with kidnapping Sjodin. The 22-year-old college student is still missing.

Capt. Michael Kirby of the Grand Forks Police Department said he would not comment on the newspaper report.

Allan Sjodin directed his first comments to his daughter.

"Dru, we're still looking for you, honey," he said. "We'll find you, doodles, not a problem, babe."

He added, "I can see her waiting for us. I just have that faith."

Dru Sjodin, a student at the University of North Dakota, was last seen November 22 as she left her job at a Victoria's Secret store in a mall.

Hundreds of volunteers have turned out in the past couple of weeks to look for her.

Her father said Friday that the family was planning to "re-evaluate some of our options" in the search because temperatures had plunged to the low teens.

"We're concerned with the cold weather," Sjodin said. "We don't want anyone to get hurt."

Sjodin said he had not attempted to contact Rodriguez, who appeared Thursday at a bond hearing and chose not to attempt to post a $5 million bond on the felony kidnapping charge.

Rodriguez is being held in isolation at the Grand Forks County Correctional Center.

The St. Paul newspaper also reported that investigators found some of Rodriguez's answers in his interviews with police to be "inconsistent.''

Sjodin praised the work of investigators.

"When I and my family members speak with them, you can feel the heart in these folks," he said.

Kirby offered little news to reporters about the investigation. He said police have received more than 1,400 leads "that are continually being developed, reviewed and prioritized."

Kirby reiterated a plea to area residents to help search for clues.

"Get out and take an extra second to walk your property," he said. "Check your outbuildings to see if you can find anything of interest."

District Attorney Peter Welte said he met Friday with Rodriguez's public defender, David Dusek.

"We let the attorney know that we still would like to speak to his client, but we are honoring his right to counsel," Welte said. "There isn't a timeline, other than we let it be known that we would like it to be as soon as possible."

Police are offering $140,000 for information leading to Sjodin's recovery.

Welte said he had dropped his objection to a request by members of the news media that documents related to Rodriguez' arrest be unsealed, but added that Dusek could file his own objection.

Welte also reiterated his vow to strike no deals with Rodriguez.

"If there's a dialogue, the dialogue is, 'Where's Dru?' " he said.

Rodriguez is the sole suspect in the disappearance, a source close to the investigation told CNN. Finding her is "just a matter of getting Mr. Rodriguez to tell us where she is," the source said.

But, the source added, getting the information could take "a day, a week or even longer."

Prosecutors have said they have evidence Rodriguez kidnapped Sjodin from the mall parking lot, but have not said what it is.

Rodriguez was released from prison in May after serving 23 years behind bars after a pair of rapes and an attempted rape.

He was convicted of raping two women in 1974, spent time in prison and underwent sex-offender treatment.

After his initial release, an attempt to rape a third woman resulted in his prison sentence.

Before his release this year, analysis found him not to be a danger, and he has not been monitored since his release.

CNN correspondent Jeff Flock and producer Traci Sabo contributed to this report.

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