crimesider

Police Find Wanted Professor's Truck

(AP Photo )
ATLANTA (AP/CBS) Authorities who have searched nearly a week for a former University of Georgia professor suspected of killing his wife and two others found his red Jeep wrecked in a ravine not far from his home, but there was no sign of him.

Police told CBS Atlanta correspondent, Lesley Tanner, that the Jeep appeared "wrecked" and may have been pushed from the top of a hill. There were no signs of blood.

Investigators also said it appears the Jeep had been on top of a hill and was pushed. They don't know how long the vehicle had been in the woods.

The Jeep was found overnight "well off the beaten path" in a wooded area of Bogart, a rural community next to Athens, where George Zinkhan lived and taught marketing, FBI Special Agent in Charge Greg Jones said Friday.

Authorities across the nation and in Europe have been looking for the 57-year-old, who was fired after the April 25 shootings. Police said earlier this week that Zinkhan had a flight to Amsterdam booked for Saturday and they had found an empty passport wallet at his house. Zinkhan has taught part-time at the Vrije Universiteit (Free University) in the Netherlands since April 2007.

Zinkhan is accused of killing his wife, 47-year-old attorney Marie Bruce, and two members of her community theater group, Ben Teague, 63, and Tom Tanner, 40, in front of a theater in Athens.

Police hadn't previously revealed a motive, but Jones said Friday that interviews with friends and family indicate the shooting likely stemmed from sort of domestic dispute between Zinkhan and Bruce. Authorities have some indication she was preparing to file for divorce, he said.

Zinkhan was last seen driving away in the Jeep after dropping his children off with a neighbor. They were in his car during the shootings but weren't hurt.

A signal emitted by one of Zinkhan's cell phones was one of the things that led authorities to the Jeep, Jones said. It looked "wrecked but not too bad" and likely had been in the ravine since shortly after the shooting, he said.

Authorities on Friday searched a 200-acre (81-hectare) area near the ravine in case Zinkhan might be there. A nearby elementary school was locked down as a precaution, said Anisa Jimenez, a spokeswoman for the Clarke County school district.

Jones said authorities were piecing together some leads from evidence in the Jeep, but declined to elaborate.

Zinkhan's brother said earlier this week that his relatives have been working to help Athens-Clarke County police and the FBI find him.

The University of Georgia is warning students to be cautious until he's found.

MORE COVERAGE FROM WGCL, CBS ATLANTA
  • Neil Katz

Comments

Follow Us