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Trooper joins FBI manhunt in North Carolina

July 30, 1998|By BRENDAN KIRBY

A Maryland State Police trooper assigned to the Hagerstown barracks joined an FBI manhunt in North Carolina on Wednesday, officials said.

Cpl. Douglas H. Lowry and his bloodhound, Jimmy, took off for Murphy, N.C., to help in the search for a man suspected of bombing a Birmingham, Ala., abortion clinic in January, police said.

Eric Robert Rudolph was spotted in a wooded area of the southwestern tip of North Carolina on July 7, and the FBI has been combing the area ever since.

Lt. Donnie Knott, commander of the Hagerstown barracks, said Lowry was excited at the opportunity.

"We feel privileged that they would ask him to participate in this," Knott said. "Hopefully, he can locate this individual. I think Doug is nationally renowned for his experience with canines."

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Lowry, a 26-year veteran of the state police, joined the Hagerstown barracks earlier this year, Knott said. He supervises all of the state police canine teams in Western Maryland.

Lowry, 46, has more than 15 years of experience with the state's canine program, police said.

Lowry is expected to spend five to seven days in North Carolina, Knott said.

Rudolph, 31, is on the FBI's 10 most-wanted list. The agency is offering a $1 million reward for information leading to his arrest, according to a spokeswoman.

Rudolph is accused in a clinic bombing that killed an off-duty police officer and seriously injured a nurse.

FBI spokeswoman Celestine Armstead said a man matching Rudolph's description stole a truck and some food from a man near Murphy, N.C., on July 7.

That set off a massive manhunt in Nantahala National Forest. Since July 11, Armstead said more than 200 law enforcement officers from more than 15 different agencies have converged on a 30-square-mile area.

Armstead said search dogs have played an important role.

"It's dense forest. It's rugged, wilderness-type terrain," she said.

Armstead said the FBI sometimes requests the services of police officers and others from different parts of the country in high-profile cases.

"It could be just a situation of who has the type of dog (with) the kind of capabilities that we need. Different dogs do different things," she said.

Knott said big operations often require backup help.

"The dogs are just like you and me. They can only work so many hours before they need rest," he said. "So in order to keep a continuous hunt, you have to make sure you have enough resources."

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