Body found in hunt for prof suspected in killings


Authorities examine a Jeep belonging to professor George Zinkhan on May 1 in Clarke County, Georgia.
Authorities discovered a body Saturday during a search for a University of Georgia professor accused of killing three people, Athens-Clarke County police said.

Cadaver dogs searching for George Zinkhan discovered a body about 65 miles northeast of Atlanta, police said. Zinkhan, 56, is suspected of shooting his wife and two other people to death last month at a community theater in Athens, Georgia. The body was discovered about a mile from where Zinkhan’s red Jeep Liberty was found on May 1, police said in a statement. The body was concealed, the police statement said. The body will be transported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation laboratory near Atlanta for identification, according to the statement. Authorities identified the dead from the April 25 shooting as Marie Bruce, 47, Zinkhan’s wife and a prominent Athens attorney; Tom Tanner, 40; and Ben Teague, 63.

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Police said they would hold a news conference at 3 p.m. Saturday. The victims were all associated with the Town and Gown Players, a theater group that was holding a reunion picnic at the time of the shootings. Police said Zinkhan arrived while the Town and Gown event was under way and got into a disagreement with his wife. Police believe he went to his car — where the couple’s children apparently were waiting — and returned with two handguns. In addition to the three deaths, two other people were wounded, police said. After the shooting, Zinkhan left with his children — ages 8 and 10 — in the car, police said. He drove to a neighbor’s home in nearby Bogart, Georgia, where he lived, and left the children with the neighbor. Authorities put out bulletins across the nation for Zinkhan after the shootings and revealed that he had purchased a May 2 ticket in March to the Netherlands, where he owns a house.

The day of the flight passed without any sign of Zinkhan. He had been an endowed marketing professor at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. The university fired Zinkhan the day after the shootings.

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