Search continues for missing anti-brothel crusader

RENO, Nev. - A search resumed Tuesday for a missing anti-brothel crusader whose bloodstained car was found near a brothel east of here.

Washoe County sheriff's Lt. Doug Gist said a helicopter search Tuesday near the Old Bridge Ranch brothel turned up no trace of Milo John Reese, director of the group Nevada Against Prostitution.

Reese, 54, of Reno, was last seen by his wife Sunday night when he left for a meeting at the legal bordello located next to the notorious Mustang Ranch brothel, which was confiscated last summer by the federal government.

Reese did not tell his wife what the meeting was about or who he planned to see. Investigators said his car was found Monday about a half-mile from the brothel, but they're unsure whether he reached it.

''I'm worried. I don't know what happened to him, if he was kidnapped or what,'' Susan Reese told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Sheriffs investigators who arrived at the brothel Tuesday afternoon to interview people there said they had more questions than answers.

Detectives say Reese's disappearance is suspicious because a car window was smashed with a rock and small traces of blood were found inside and outside the car, which was left about a quarter-mile from Interstate 80.

''We're looking at the possibility he met with foul play and it was possibly connected to his brothel views,'' Gist said. ''But it easily could be something else, so we're looking at this case very broadly.''

A woman who answered the phone at the Old Bridge Ranch said she knew nothing about the case and referred all questions to owner David Burgess, who didn't return phone calls.

Dennis Hoff, the owner of two other legal brothels east of Carson City, defended Burgess and said he suspected Reese arranged his disappearance to get publicity.

''I hope for his sake that he's safe and secure someplace, but my guess is he will show up and they'll find David had nothing to do with it at all,'' Hoff said. ''My impression is that this is designed to hurt David. (Reese) has his opinions, but he's never done anything to irritate brothel owners because he's ineffective.''

Investigators also are considering the possibility there was no foul play, Gist said. ''I suppose anything is possible and that's why we're investigating all avenues.''

Reese has tried for years to shut down Nevada's legal brothels, claiming the state Health Division has covered up information that women with AIDS work there.

In 1993, the Nevada Brothel Association threatened to sue him after he put the message, ''Warning: Brothels are not AIDS safe,'' on billboards near the Old Bridge Ranch and Mustang Ranch 10 miles east of Reno.

Reese, who admits having regularly visited prostitutes as a young man, considers the trade degrading to women and against biblical teachings.

In an effort to discredit prostitution, he went so far as to seek a license to operate a gay brothel in Pahrump several years ago.

Burgess' license has been yanked by Storey County officials, who cited noise from motorcycles and harassment of nearby residents by cyclists. A district court judge upheld the county's decision, but the brothel is operating under a temporary court order pending a Nevada Supreme Court ruling on his appeal.

Prostitution is legal in 12 of Nevada's 17 counties, including Storey County where the Old Bridge Ranch brothel is located.


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