Law enforcement found a Thule car-top carrier Wednesday believed to be that of the suspect vehicle in the Monday abduction and sexual assault of an 11-year-old Cody girl.
The carrier was discovered in the area where the victim was found by a group of hunters late Monday, according to Dave S. Joly, Federal Bureau of Investigations Denver Division media coordinator.
The carrier is being processed by the FBI for evidence, he said.
Based on witness statements and video footage from cameras around Cody, investigators believe the vehicle is a 2004 or 2005 white Toyota 4-Runner, Joly said.
Footage shows a removable, silver and black Thule rooftop cargo box on top of the vehicle. Investigators found such a box abandoned near where the girl was released, Joly said. The girl is now with her family.
The suspect is a white man, between 55 and 60 years old, 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.
In the meantime, police in Cody issued a statement Friday warning residents of an FBI impersonator.
“Due to the recent child abduction and the influx of FBI agents in the area, the Cody Police Department has received complaints of a male knocking on residences and asking for personal information not related to the child abduction,” according to the statement.
Police said the FBI impersonator has flashed a badge during contact with residents. He is described as a white male, about 40 years old, 6 feet tall and about 200 pounds with very short brown hair. He was wearing blue jeans, a gray sweatshirt, brown shoes and black sunglasses.
“The public is asked to be careful with giving out personal information and should ask to look at the investigator’s credentials, which will include a photograph of the investigator, prior to answering questions,” the statements reads.
“While it is important to cooperate with law enforcement officers, the public needs to be aware that someone is possibly taking advantage of the situation for personal gain.”
Impersonating a federal agent is a felony offense, the statement notes. Police said anyone who has suspicions should write down the imposter’s name.
Anyone with information about the impersonator is asked to contact the police department at 307-527-8736.
Authorities continue to search for the suspect in the girl’s abduction and sexual assault.