Unabomber News History

Copyright 1993 Phoenix Newspapers, Inc.


October 7, 1993 Thursday, Final

SECTION: News; Pg. A23

LENGTH: 684 words


BYLINE: By Steve Goldstein, Knight-Ridder Tribune News Service



Admitting that they have no "viable" suspects in a string of mail bombs that have killed one person and injured 23 others since 1978, federal authorities Wednesday announced a $1 million reward for information leading to the capture of the so-called "Unabomber."

Federal investigators revealed the latest clue - a note scrawled on paper that says, "Call Nathan R - Wed 7 PM" - that they believe the bomber may have written as a reminder to make a telephone call.

FBI Director Louis Freeh said "Nathan R" may have received a telephone call from the bomber in June, when two university professors were maimed by mail bombs within two days of each other. "Investigators believe this very important piece of evidence is directly associated with the bomber," said Freeh, adding that Nathan R's association "may be completely innocent." The unusual nature of the public appeal for help and the size of the reward underscored the frustration felt by investigators, who conceded that they were baffled by the person or persons responsible for sending 14 bombs in 15 years to university professors, airlines and computer experts. "We're at a dead end. We're not able to advance this investigation," said a senior law enforcement official who asked not be identified. "If we didn't have the Nathan R clue, we wouldn't go public. We know that for $1 million there are going to be a lot of nuts coming out of the woodwork." The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service each contributed $150,000 to the reward fund, with the rest contributed by anonymous organizations and individuals, perhaps affiliated with some of the targeted universities. People wishing to give information are instructed to call a toll-free number: (800) 701-2662. "Progress is essential in this case because there is great concern that the bomber will strike again," said Ronald Noble, the assistant Treasury secretary for enforcement. Cowardly acts FBI Inspector George Clow, head of a 45-person "Unabomb" task force based in Northern California, termed the bombings "cowardly acts, surreptitiously accomplished," that have had long-lasting psychological effects on the victims. "I was touched by the genuine horror, the genuine terror that these people feel to this day," he said. "Their whole lives have been affected, and they don't understand why." After a six-year hiatus, the most recent bombs believed to be the work of the Unabomber were mailed June 18 in Sacramento, Calif., to professors at the University of California-San Francisco and Yale University. On June 22, Dr. Charles Epstein, a geneticist at the San Francisco school, lost several fingers when a parcel bomb exploded at his home in Tiburon. Two days later, Yale computer scientist David Gelernter suffered serious wounds to his abdomen, chest, face and hands when he opened a package bomb in his office. Both parcels carried the return addresses of different professors at California State University-Sacramento. On the day Gelernter received his deadly package, a letter postmarked June 21 from Sacramento arrived at The New York Times. The letter, written by a person who claimed that a group was responsible for the earlier bombings, bore the initials "FC," which investigators said were previously found on other bomb fragments. Letter genuine Clow said the letter was being treated as genuine. Based on what are literally scraps of evidence, investigators describe the bomber as a white man in his late 40s or early 50s with training or education in explosives, electronics and woodworking. Behavioral scientists see the bomber as "rigid and inflexible, someone who may be perceived as a very nice person with a sense of humor that appears at times to be macabre or tasteless," said John Magaw, acting director of the ATF. "Unabomber" is shorthand for "university and airline bomber." GRAPHIC: Map by THE PHOENIX GAZETTE (See microfilm); Where the mail bomber has struck LANGUAGE: ENGLISH LOAD-DATE: October 16, 1993