Unabomber News History

Copyright 1996 The Atlanta Constitution

The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

April 4, 1996, Thursday, JOURNAL EDITION


LENGTH: 522 words

HEADLINE: THE UNABOMBER: SEARCH FOR AN ELUSIVE KILLER; Old boxes in family home held telltale clues; Evidence turned over: A friend of the suspect's brother reportedly acted as an itermediary with the FBI.


DATELINE: Washington


When a suburban Chicago family began searching some old boxes almost two months ago, they unwittingly stumbled on what federal agents now believe may be their best clue yet to the identify of the Unabomber they have sought for 17 1/2 years.

While cleaning their Lombard, Ill., home for sale in March, the Kaczynski family found some writings by Theodore Kaczynski, now 53 and living in Montana, that made them think he might be the Unabomber, according to several federal law enforcement officials.

Theodore Kaczynski's brother called an acquaintance in Washington who is a lawyer. The lawyer acted as an intermediary to turn the evidence over to the FBI in Washington.

At least one member of the multi-agency Unabom task force said Kaczynski's brother gave the FBI Theodore's name "a long time ago" and has been struggling to get their attention since then.

But one FBI official said the lead "was given a high priority and special attention from the beginning." Partly, the official said, that's because it came to the Washington field office, which gets few Unabom tips, compared with the thousands that roll into the Unabom task force headquarters in the FBI's San Francisco field office.

Agents quickly got permission to conduct a further search of the suburban Chicago home, where Kazcynski grew up before attending Harvard and the University of Michigan, agents said. What they found raised their suspicions.

Meantime, agents have been following Theodore Kaczynski for several weeks. Wednesday, they took him into custody so they could search his home near Lincoln, Mont., without any interference from him.

"We like the looks of this guy as the Unabomber, but we don't have make-or-break evidence yet," one federal law enforcement official told The Associated Press. "We have some writings that match up, but we don't have his tools yet. We want the irrefutable mother lode of evidence."

The overwhelming majority of the 16 bombings, which began in 1978, took place in communities where Kaczynski lived at one time or another - Chicago, Salt Lake City, the San Francisco Bay area and and Ann Arbor, Mich.

The FBI spent much of the last year and a half publicizing the Unabomber's writings. They hand-delivered copies of his writings to scholars familiar with the history of science in the hope someone would recognize his work.

Although there have been numerous clues to UNABOM's identity over the years, and more than 20,000 phone calls to a toll-free FBI hotline, authorities have lacked a definitive description of the suspect.

The one most likely to be accurate, they believe, came from Salt Lake City in 1987. A witness described the person he sighted outside a computer store just before an explosion shook the building as a middle- aged man with curly reddish-blond hair and a light mustache.

In April 1995, after the bombing death of timber executive Murray, Sacramento police said they had videotaped a man in the crowd around the murder site who was in his late 40s or early 50s, and wearing aviator sunglasses. The man left abruptly as soon as he discovered he was being filmed.

GRAPHIC: Map: Break in the case? Federal agents searched a home in Lincoln. / Staff