Manhunt continues for stabbing suspect

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Officers continued searching Friday for a Hayden man suspected of stabbing his 12-year-old daughter multiple times and leaving her for dead in the Idaho wilderness.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of John Rollins Tuggle, 37, on suspicion of attempted murder. Tuggle's daughter was found Wednesday by campers who heard her cries. She had been stabbed several times and bound with a rope, Shoshone County Sheriff Chuck Reynalds said.

Tuggle was convicted of statutory rape of a teenage relative in 1995 and served nine years in the Idaho State Prison. He was released in January 2004 and came to Hayden. He registered as a sex offender in February 2004, according to the Routt County Sheriff's Office.

The search is focused on an area of the Idaho panhandle north of the town of Wallace, near where the girl was found. Officers in Routt County also are on alert, in case Tuggle attempts to return home.

Tuggle is described as 6 foot and 200 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes and numerous tattoos. He was thought to be driving a red 1989 Ford Escort with Colorado license plates.

Tuggle lived 4.5 miles north of Hayden with his brother Chris. Chris Tuggle said his brother left July 14 to see his children in Idaho and was supposed to return Tuesday.

The trip was the first contact Tuggle had with his daughter, Reynalds said. Tuggle was supposed to be taking his daughter to a mall near Athol, where she lived, when they disappeared.

Reynalds said the girl was found lying in brush along a road by people who said they heard her yell as they were searching for a campsite. The girl first was taken to the Kootenai Medical Center and later was flown to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Wash.

Shoshone County authorities issued a release Friday stating the girl is in serious condition and that she is expected to remain in the hospital for three to four weeks to recover from her injuries.

Officials from the Shoshone County Sheriff's Office and the Idaho State Police were able to interview the girl Friday, and she was able to provide additional details that should be helpful in the case, according to a statement.

Shoshone County Deputy Derek Dofelmire said evidence has been collected and sent to a forensics lab to determine whether the girl also was sexually assaulted.

Undersheriff Dan Taylor said Routt County officers are working diligently to help locate Tuggle.

Hayden police Chief Jody Lenahan said the news raised some concerns in the Hayden community. But he does not think Tuggle will come back to Routt County given media coverage of the incident.

"He'd have to be a real moron to come back here," Lenahan said.

Nevertheless, local officers are monitoring the home where Tuggle has lived for the past 18 months.

Steamboat Springs police Capt. Joel Rae said police are being "vigilant" in looking for Tuggle's car or other signs of the man. "This is someone we want off the streets," he said.

-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboat pilot.com.

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