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Police chief: 'Dru, we are coming'

Chief John Packett
Chief John Packett

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GRAND FORKS, North Dakota (CNN) -- The search continued Tuesday for missing college student Dru Sjodin, while Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. spent the day in custody on a charge of kidnapping. Rodriguez was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

Grand Forks police chief John Packett discussed the case Tuesday afternoon with CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer.

BLITZER: What's the latest on the search for this 22-year-old woman?

PACKETT: Well, good evening. We're very pleased that there's enough interest nationally on this case that allows us to get the word out.

I think as your viewers just saw with the Sjodin family, their energy is really assisting us in this tenth day of this tragic event. We're certainly heartened that there's been an arrest made but we're only halfway there, I think.

Tomorrow's going to be a very important day. We estimate up to 1,500 citizens will be bussed to Grand Forks from as far away as the Twin Cities and Fargo to assist in the search. I think that's unprecedented in a situation like this. And it certainly shows the community interest in this case.

BLITZER: Do you believe, chief, she is still alive?

PACKETT: Yes, I do. It's important to us right now, I think, to reassure her that we are searching. The common focus of every day in our briefing of investigators, every day in dealing with the media is that, Dru, we are coming. We are looking for you. We will bring you home. That's what's driving us now. That's our No. 1 goal.

BLITZER: Do you have new leads -- without telling us where the leads are coming from -- do you have new leads on her whereabouts, perhaps?

PACKETT: As far as leads, I think it is the totality of what brought us to this point in time. Certainly probable cause for search warrants, probable cause for an arrest warrant last night. The totality of about 1,000 leads to date has resulted in the arrest of the individual that we're talking about.

I think all those things lead us to believe that we can get very close to bringing her home very quickly, and I'm heartened by that.

At the same time, I'll take no solace in the arrest being made until we bring her home.

BLITZER: The suspicion, chief, and just correct if I'm wrong, is that Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. kidnapped this woman?

PACKETT: Yes. We believe there's probable cause that he was seen in the area of the mall in which she was taken. We feel there's enough evidence that ties him to her. And that's what resulted in the arrest warrant last night and his incarceration.


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