Updated at: 10/12/2012 5:35 PM
By BEN NEARY
(AP) CHEYENNE, Wyo. - The FBI on Friday asked people in Wyoming and surrounding states for help in finding a man suspected of kidnapping a girl from the town of Cody and sexually assaulting her earlier this week.
The man lured the 11-year-old girl into his SUV on Monday evening by claiming he needed help finding a missing puppy, Cody police said. He later threatened her with a pistol.
A group of hunters found her in a rural area outside the town several hours later.
Based on witness statements and video footage from cameras around Cody, investigators believe the vehicle is believed to be a 2004 or 2005 white Toyota 4-Runner, said Dave Joly, an FBI spokesman in Denver.
Footage shows a removable, silver and black rooftop cargo box on top of the vehicle. Investigators said Friday that they found the cargo box abandoned near where the girl was released.
The suspect is a white man, between 55 and 60, weighing 185 to 200 pounds, with short, light hair and trimmed facial hair, authorities said.
Surveillance photos weren’t of high enough quality to discern a license plate number or see what state the plate was from, Joly said.
Federal authorities have authority over the case under federal kidnapping laws _ even if the perpetrator didn’t cross state lines in commission of the crime _ because of the age of the victim, Joly said.
Authorities investigating last week’s disappearance of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway from the Denver suburb of Westminster initially had looked for a possible connection between her presumed abduction and the abduction of the Cody girl. The FBI now says it doesn’t believe the cases are related.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)