Professor Wanted for 3 Murders Found Dead

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ATHENS, Ga. -- A professor wanted for killing his wife and two other people at a community theater two weeks ago was found dead in the north Georgia woods Saturday, his body covered in brush and dirt, officials said.

Two guns were found with the body of marketing professor George Zinkhan, who vanished after the April 25 shootings near the University of Georgia, said Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Joseph Lumpkin.

The guns matched those described by witnesses to the shootings, though police did not say how they believe Zinkhan died. Authorities hoped to have a cause of death by the end of Saturday.

Cadaver dogs found Zinkhan's body about 10 miles west of Athens in thick woods in Bogart, where he lived. Searchers - as many as 200 at one point - had been scouring the woods since his Jeep was found wrecked and abandoned in a ravine about a mile away a week ago.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab confirmed later Saturday that the body was Zinkhan.

Reached by phone at her home in Baltimore, his mother, Mary, said she was aware of the discovery.

"I've heard that news," she said. "I have nothing to say about it."

Zinkhan had been missing since police said he opened fire on a reunion for the Town & Gown Players, a local theater group.

He argued outside the theater with his wife, Marie Bruce, 47, a family law attorney who was serving as the group's president.

Police say he walked away briefly before returning with two handguns and killing her, along with Clemson University economist and actor Tom Tanner, 40, and Ben Teague, 63, a longtime theater group volunteer who was married to a popular UGA professor. Two other people were injured by bullet fragments.

Police at first said they had no motive for the shooting. The FBI said later friends and family indicated Bruce may have been considering a divorce.

Zinkhan was last seen dropping off his children, who were in the car during the shootings but weren't injured, with a neighbor. He said there was an emergency.

Bulletins were issued nationwide and authorities kept watch on airports in case Zinkhan tried to flee to Amsterdam, where he had taught part-time at a university since 2007. Federal authorities later revealed Zinkhan had an upcoming flight booked to Amsterdam, but the professor never showed up at the airport.

Zinkhan had been a professor in the university's Terry College of Business and had no disciplinary problems, school officials said. He had taught at UGA since the 1990s and was fired after the shootings.

"I express my sincerest condolences to the loved ones and friends of the victims of this tragedy," UGA President Michael Adams said. "Our hearts go out to each of them as they try to bring closure to and cope with the pain and sorrow these losses of life have caused them. May they ultimately find healing and peace."

Bob Covington, the neighbor who Zinkhan dropped his children off with after the shooting, called Saturday's discovery "another sad chapter to the story."

"For the community, the families, his kids and this neighborhood, this last chapter will provide some healing,"Covington said. "It's been two weeks of people being on pins and needles, every time you see a police car. I think this will ease a lot of tension. People can get back to their lives and move on from this horrible tragedy."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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