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SANTA ANA, Calif. -- It's times like these that fuel margins and tobacco taxes just don't seem so important.
While the investigation into the abduction and death of Samantha Runnion, the daughter of a BP Plc employee, continues to dominate headlines, tragedy also befell Tesoro Petroleum Corp. in a similar, yet less publicized incident.
According to police in Anchorage, Alaska, 13-year-old Delaney Zutz, daughter of Tesoro employee Jinny Zutz, vanished from her bedroom July 10 about 2:30 a.m. Her body was found in the woods near the family's Southeast Anchorage home five days later on Monday by relatives who flew to Anchorage from Minnesota to help search for the missing eighth-grader, said David Zutz, Delaney's father.
Jinny Zutz had been searching around-the-clock for her daughter and used her connections as a Tesoro Petroleum employee to post missing person signs at convenience stores throughout the Alaskan city, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
According to police, Zutz was on the phone with her boyfriend when a 15-year-old identified as "Brandon" knocked at her bedroom window. She told her boyfriend she was going somewhere with Brandon, the report said. Around 6:30 a.m., Jinny Zutz, discovered her daughter's empty bed and started calling friends, neighbors and police.
Yesterday, hundreds of miles south and just two days after Zutz body was identified, the body of five-year-old Samantha Runnion, daughter of BP employee Erin Runnion, was found after she was snatched while playing in front of her Stanton, Calif., home. Samantha's body was found 75 miles from her home in adjacent Riverside County. An autopsy revealed she died of asphyxiation.
According to police, Samantha and a friend, 5-year-old Sarah Ahn, were playing a board game outside their apartment complex when the man pulled up and asked the girls to help him look for his lost dog, police said. The investigation is ongoing, said Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona, who is confident the killer would be apprehended quickly.
Anchorage police said they have few clues, but are acting on a variety of tips and remain optimistic that Zutz abductor would also be caught quickly.
A reward of up to $250,000 is available in the Runnion case -- put up by the city of Stanton; BP Plc and private donors. A Tesoro spokesperson told CSNews Online the company is working with employees to develop an appropriate course of action to assist the Zutz family and police.