Truck Linked To Bombing Is Found

Investigators found a pickup truck belonging to a man sought as a witness in the nation's first fatal bombing of an abortion clinic, but the vehicle's owner is still at large.

The 1989 gray Nissan belonging to Eric Robert Rudolph was found Saturday in woods outside of Murphy, N.C., said Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Birmingham.

Cavanaugh said a federal magistrate in Asheville, N.C., would be asked today for a warrant allowing investigators to seize and search the vehicle.

Authorities have been looking for the truck since Jan. 29, when it was spotted by witnesses near the New Woman All Women Clinic following the blast, which killed an off-duty police officer working as a security guard critically injured a nurse.

Based mainly on the truck sighting, a warrant was issued the next day seeking the arrest of Rudolph, 31, as a material witness in the bombing. Agents have said he is not considered a suspect, although they said in a public letter Friday that they "urgently" need to talk to him.

The owner of the bombed clinic, which reopened last week, was happy to see progress in the investigation.

"I truly believe they're going to get him," Diane Derzis said.

The hunt for Rudolph has concentrated in the rugged mountains of the western tip of North Carolina, where authorities had several addresses for the man.

Authorities also are trying to find a caller who anonymously phoned a tip line after the bombing and said he was outside the clinic around the time of the explosion.

Letters were sent to at least two media outlets in Atlanta claiming the bombing was the work of the Army of God, which claimed responsibility for bombings at a women's clinic and gay bar in Atlanta last year. Investigators say they have not established a firm link.

The Justice Department has warned clinics nationwide to be on the lookout for unexpected gift items including boxed candy, potted plants and stuffed animals. Agents have said the Birmingham bomb was a homemade device contained in a package.

Agents already have questioned nurse Emily Lyons, 41, who remains hospitalized in serious condition.

By JAY REEVES, Associated Press Writer. ©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed