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Volunteers Search 2-County Area for Polly Klaas

October 24, 1993| Associated Press

PETALUMA — Volunteers combed state parks and remote areas of Sonoma and Marin counties on Saturday, hoping to find signs of Polly Klaas, three weeks after the 12-year-old was abducted from her home.

About 100 people searched eight areas, said Joe Leisek, a volunteer at the Polly Klaas Search Center in Petaluma. Organizers made a special call for volunteers with military experience.

"They're familiar with searching terrain," Leisek explained. "It's a highly organized ground search, and we're hoping that people with that kind of experience will come out and help."

The search, which began Saturday morning, will continue at least through Sunday afternoon, he said.

Meanwhile, pilots continued their search for the Petaluma girl, who was kidnaped at knife point by a bearded stranger the night of Oct. 1 during a slumber party.

Helicopters and planes were searching between the Russian River in Sonoma County and Lucas Valley in Marin County, said Jared Kassman, a helicopter pilot from Westlake Village.

The Polly Klaas case has drawn national attention, appearing on "America's Most Wanted" and on other television programs. Actress Winona Ryder, who grew up in Petaluma, has offered a $200,000 reward for information leading to Polly's safe return.

Meanwhile, volunteers have organized numerous fund-raising events, including "Shop for Polly" promotions in which stores in the area donate part of their profits to help pay for search efforts.

Volunteers and police believe the high visibility of the case can only help find the missing girl.

"We don't have much information on the suspect, his motive, his intent. And we have no specific information about a possible location or destination," said Petaluma Police Sgt. Mike Kerns. "So we can't overlook any information. . . . We are relying on the public to help us."

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