University of Georgia professor George Zinkhan is accused of killing his wife and two men at the Athens Community Theatre in Athens, Ga. on April 25. He has not been seen since 25 minutes after the murder took place.
Created by randb on May 7, 2009
Last updated: 03/10/10 at 09:31 PM
Tags: george zinkhan athens murder town & gown
he Oconee County Sheriff's Office responded to a call from the FBI to ensure the safety of a University professor after a Mapquest search to her home was discovered in the abandoned Jeep of accused murderer George M. Zinkhan.
Barbara Carroll, an associate professor in the Terry College of Business, was visited by Oconee County deputies at 4 a.m. May 1, hours after Zinkhan's Jeep was discovered in a ravine in northwestern Athens-Clarke County. Lee Weems, Chief Deputy of the Oconee County Sheriff's Office, confirmed his office received a 3 a.m. call from the FBI and conducted a welfare check on Carroll. Carroll was interviewed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and was advised to go into hiding.
The worldwide search for University professor George M. Zinkhan ended Saturday morning in a shallow grave less than two miles from where it started a fortnight ago.
Led there by the noses of Madison, an Australian shepherd, and Circe, a German shepherd, members of the Alpha Search team unearthed Zinkhan's decomposing body. Covered with dirt and leaves, the hidden body was found aside two handguns a mile from where his 2005 Jeep Liberty was discovered and two miles from his home in Bogart, where he was last seen dropping off his children April 25.
Athens-Clarke County police released two new sketches of former University professor George Zinkhan Wednesday, one showing him without a beard and another showing him bald with no beard.
Police spent the weekend monitoring Atlanta's airport to see if University professor George Zinkhan would make good on his ticket to Amsterdam, but officials confirmed Monday Zinkhan's passport was found in the 2005 Jeep Liberty discovered in a Athens-Clarke County ravine Friday.
On Friday his Jeep was found in a wooded area two miles from his home, spurring a daylong search for the Terry College professor on the 1,100 acre tract in the northwestern part of the county. Zinkhan is accused of killing three people April 25.
Law enforcement officials are on alert at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on the off-chance University professor George Zinkhan tries to leave the country.
The FBI revealed last week in U.S. District Court that Zinkhan has a ticket for a Delta Air Lines flight Saturday to Amsterdam. He also has a home in the Netherlands, where he has taught part-time at a university since April 2006.
As law enforcement continued to scour northwestern Athens-Clarke Country for George Zinkhan Friday morning, friends and family of Ben Teague, a victim in Saturday's shooting, gathered for a memorial service.
Around 500 attendees packed the University Chapel service to standing room only. Black folding chairs were set outdoors as the chapel filled beyond capacity.
A central figure at Town & Gown theater for over 17 years and the husband to University English professor, Fran Teague, 63-year old Ben Teague's life was celebrated much in the way he lived it - surrounded by people who loved him.
Photos of the search for George Zinkhan
BOGART - The massive manhunt for "not your typical type of fugitive" descended on northwestern Athens-Clarke County Friday, as law enforcement hunted through a large wooded area for accused murder and University professor George Zinkhan.
Officers from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals Office, FBI and ACC spent Friday on an 1,110-acre tract off Fowler Mill Road looking for Zinkhan after his maroon 2005 Jeep Liberty was discovered Thursday night in a ravine. They were joined by Department of Natural Resources rangers, riding all-terrain vehicles with rifles strapped to their backs, as the GBI told reporters 200 people were searching for Zinkhan between Cleveland Road and the Jackson County line.
University professor George Zinkhan is now one of "America's Most Wanted" and a picture of him taken in February was released to the media.
Zinkhan, wanted in connection with the murder of three people Saturday, has not been seen since he dropped his children off with a neighbor Saturday afternoon. He was last seen driving a 2005 maroon Jeep Liberty Renegade.
Hikers along the Appalachian Trail were warned Wednesday George Zinkhan, a University professor accused of killing three people Saturday, may be in the area.
"Mr. Zinkhan was a hiker in the past and did hike on the Appalachian Trail," U.S. Park Ranger Eric Barron told the Associated Press. A notice posted on the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's Web site warns Zinkhan may have a gun and advises people to call 911 if he is spotted.
A woman reported a red Jeep matching the description of George Zinkhan III's parked in a neighbor's driveway in Bogart Saturday.
Becky Stonecipher said she saw the Jeep parked in Gail and Michael Harsh's driveway between 2 and 3 p.m. Saturday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"We were here all day [Saturday] and we didn't see any jeep and it certainly didn't come down our driveway," Michael Harsh told The Red & Black in a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon.
The North Campus Chapel endures the noisy crowds of football Saturdays and the laughter of alumni weddings, but Tuesday it endured something almost unheard of - silence.
Only the faint chirping of birds and the click-clack of footsteps could be heard as the University Air Force ROTC presented the colors for the annual University Candlelight Memorial.
More than 100 students, faculty, family and friends gathered to remember University students, faculty and staff who passed away during the last academic year.
A criminal complaint filed in Middle District Court of Georgia Monday reveals some new information about investigation into University professor George Zinkhan, sought for the murder of three people Saturday afternoon.
FBI Special Agent Gregory McClendon, who is assigned to the FBI office in Macon, relayed Georgia Bureau of Investigation Agent Rebecca Shaw was told Zinkhan had scheduled a trip to Amsterdam and that he travels there several times a year. He is also close with his brother in North Carolina and recently visited his mother in Baltimore. Shaw also said Zinkhan "has connections to the Netherlands and that he is close to his other children in Texas. Zinkhan has made no contact with these children. He also has extended family in Maryland and Utah."
An official with Amsterdam's Vrije University told Volkskrant, a newspaper in the Netherlands, it planned on firing George Zinkhan
Even though Zinkhan has not been convicted there were many witnesses to the shooting, VU spokesman Frank Snijders told Volkskrant.
On a warm Sunday afternoon, bouquets and cards blanket the doorway to the modest white building the Town & Gown Players called home for the last 40 years.
Were it not for the events that transpired underneath its burgundy awning the day before, the flowers might have served a different purpose - congratulatory gifts for the closing weekend of the company's latest play, "Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure."
Now, they are gestures of condolences, mourning and loss.
"Town & Gown lost its heart, body and soul today; they were the three most important people at the theater," said Patric Ryan, a senior drama major, on Saturday night.
University President Michael Adams, University Police Chief Jimmy Williamson and Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs Tom Jackson addressed the media on the steps of the Administration Building Monday morning, in the wake of Saturday's triple homicide thought to be by University professor Georgia Zinkhan.
Adams and Williamson both said all appropriate measures are being taken to make the University's campus safe.
"We will deploy without regard to expense any means necessary to provide for the safety of our students and our faculty," Adams said.
While armed UGA police officers continue to roam campus on foot with semi-automatic AR-15 rifles, Williamson said that "our campus is very safe."
Approximately one-and-a-half hours after neighbors heard gunshots from the Athens Community Theater, students, faculty and employees received text messages alerting them of the event.
Professor George Zinkhan was not one of them.
University Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said UGAAlert was delayed 20 minutes because University police wanted to ensure Zinkhan would not receive the message.
In the eyes of many who saw George Zinkhan on a regular basis, nothing appeared too out of the ordinary during the days leading up to the shooting.
"I never saw any signs of violent behavior," said Richard Fox, a marketing professor whose office is next to Zinkhan's in Brooks Hall. "I'm taken aback, I don't understand and I guess we never will."
But Zinkhan surprised students when he said they did not have to take the final exam. According to the Marketing 4100 syllabus, the scheduled May 5 exam was to make up 20 percent of a students' grade.
Police activity died down on the scanner, but they began sending units to Chesterfield Road to relieve others who had been there since 12:45 p.m. The media waited as well. CBS, FOX and several other news affiliates had their satellite vans parked and cameras ready outside the yellow DO NOT CROSS tape, giving on-the-scene briefs that would fit somewhere in the time slot between NFL Draft and NASCAR updates. Around 4:30 p.m., police kicked down the door to Zinkhan's home, but "no gunfire happened," said Robert Muckley, who lives a few houses down from Zinkhan and was watching the action throughout the afternoon. Around 4:50 p.m., Foshee sent a tweet that said, "I count at least 11 police cars and 2 news vans at the scene." By 5 p.m., "SWAT has been in house a long time now," he wrote. The SWAT team exited the house at 5:20 p.m. "It appears the house is clear. This means he could still be in the neighborhood or somewhere else in town," Foshee wrote.
At 3:45, the streets of downtown were bustling with the Twilight crowd. Festival goers sat outside of restaurants and bars - eating, drinking and chatting. Some perused the booths manned by volunteers, displaying bicycle-related gear. Others carried shopping bags, coming from downtown stores. Children ran around with their parents. The atmosphere was dominated by an air of festivity, and there was little indication a murder suspect was on the loose or a SWAT team was patrolling buildings on North Campus. "I think the only people that really know about it are the students who got the text," said Katelyn Teneyck, an intern with Swagger, the event coordinator that puts on Twilight. By 3:46 p.m. the University Police truck pulled over on the Lumpkin Street side of the Bank of America, and the team ran inside the building and up the stairs. Meanwhile, officers told some to stay away, but others used the ATM, unaware of what was going on around and above them. "Tell everyone to be calm when they go over to that Bank of American ATM downtown," one officer said over the scanner. "There's a ton of people there and we don't want to alarm anyone. We have eight cameras looking in on it, so if anything happens we'll know."
Police blocked off Herty Drive, the street running between Brooks Hall and the Law School. Officers standing in front of the Main Library told students to "go the long way around" and avoid walking in front of Brooks. One officer with an assault rifle patrolled the area in front of Brooks. Groups of students stopped to watch near the Law School. Students studying in front of the Main Library were not asked to leave the area. In the Founder's Memorial Garden, which is just below Denmark Hall, a wedding event continued.
Around 2:30 p.m., police received a tip Zinkhan was spotted around the State Botanical Garden on Milledge Avenue. The Garden seemed calm. The weather was nice and people walked quietly around the visitor's center. A sign scrawled in green marker directed guests of the Malloy-White wedding planned for later in the day. A few loops around the parking lot, and the University Police truck stealthily appeared on the scenic road, with officers dressed in SWAT gear inside the flatbed of the truck, rifles cradled in their arms. They nodded in the direction of a reporting team, and headed out of the park. A call on the radio said there's action brewing at Brooks Hall, back on North Campus. When the University Police arrived at the intersection at Milledge Avenue and Lumpkin Street, they pulled the siren and took off.
The three victims are Zinkhan's wife - Marie Bruce, 47, a local attorney and president of the performance group's board of directors; Ben Teague, 63, a set designer for the group and husband of University English professor Fran Teague; and Tom Tanner, 40, a set designer and performer for the group.
University officials sent UGA Alert texts, calls and e-mails around 1:55 p.m. giving students, faculty and staff a description of Zinkhan and urging them to call 911 with his location if spotted.
On Chesterfield Road, police located George Zinkhan's black 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier and verified with neighbors Zinkhan left the neighborhood about 45 minutes before in a "maroonish" Jeep Liberty.
They missed him by mere minutes. Officers posted at Finley Street verified no one lived in the house they were watching.
A little after 1 p.m. police found neighbor Robert Covington, who had custody of the children.
In Athens, the last Saturday in April is reserved for revelry.
College kids and townies, 8-year-olds and 80-year-olds, all venture downtown for a celebration of beer and bikes at the annual Twilight Criterium. Thousands gather in the baking sun to see friends, cheer on gritty competitors and perhaps witness a crash or two.
But this year they were witness to something new - SWAT members, poised with assault rifles, walking in straight lines amidst the crushing crowds.
Half a mile away - away from the fun and festivities - a man armed with two guns made time stand still.
The last Saturday in April would now mean something else.
Red & Black staff photographers with pictures from various scenes around Athens Saturday.