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Sheriff Apologizes To Sjodin Dad

While officials and friends searched without success for Dru Sjodin, her mother went looking for help from the mother of the man charged with kidnapping the missing college student.

"I asked her to reach out to her son and please ask him to lead us to Dru," Linda Walker told the Grand Forks Herald for its Thursday editions. "I asked mother-to-mother."

Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., 50, of Crookston, Minn., is being held on $5 million bond. Rodriguez has said through his attorney that he had nothing to do with the Nov. 22 disappearance of Sjodin, who is enrolled at the University of North Dakota.

Walker said Dolores Rodriguez did not respond to her request when they spoke Saturday. But she said Dolores Rodriguez and her daughter, Illeana Noyes, were compassionate, expressing concern about Sjodin's safety and the family's well-being.

Dolores Rodriguez and Noyes visited Alfonso Rodriguez for 45 minutes Tuesday, but the topic of their conversation wasn't known.

Authorities say a small amount of blood found in Rodriguez's car tested against DNA from Sjodin's toothbrush, and a knife found in Rodriguez's trunk matched a sheath found near her car, which was found at the mall where she disappeared.

Meanwhile, National Guard soldiers from North Dakota and Minnesota will help scour the countryside for Sjodin beginning Friday.

Minnesota expects to send 150 soldiers to cover roughly 500 square miles of Polk County in northwestern Minnesota after Sheriff Mark LeTexier asked Gov. Tim Pawlenty for help.

Up to 90 North Dakota soldiers will help about 55 Highway Patrol troopers, Crime Bureau agents and state conservation officers go over 275 to 300 square miles, local and Guard officials said.

Areas south and west of Grand Forks are near the Columbia Mall, where Sjodin disappeared and within the 25-mile range of the signal coming off her cell phone, said Dan Hill, sheriff of Grand Forks County.

Hill has been criticized by the Sjodin family and others for saying Tuesday that Sjodin probably won't be found alive. He also said authorities will not stop looking for her.

Hill met with Sjodin's father, Allan Sjodin, at the police station Wednesday morning to explain himself.

"He extended his hand out to me, and I walked up to him and told him I was so sorry that I said what I said," Hill said. "He gave me a big hug and I hugged him back."

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