The Search and Capture of Eric Rudolph - Unsolved Mysteries

The Olympic Bomber is identified and captured. 

Eric Rudolph

Alice died in the bombing

CASE DETAILS

Millions of people around the world were shaken by the 1996 Olympic park bombing in Atlanta, Georgia.  Security guard Richard Jewell, who was an early suspect, was cleared of any wrongdoing.  And the person responsible for planting what the FBI called one of the largest pipe bombs in U.S. history, has yet to be caught.  For those in Centennial Park that fateful night, their lives were changed forever.

FBI received letters from “The Army of God”

Fallon Stubbs, and her mother, Alice Hawthorne, were visiting from Albany, Georgia.  The last-minute trip was a 14th birthday gift for Fallon:

“We were enjoying the moment, enjoying the people.  It was an experience like no other.  And… to be in that kind of surrounding, it was a beautiful thing.”

Just before 1:20 AM, Fallon and her mother paused to take a photograph—a memento of a wonderful night.  Then suddenly, a huge explosion knocked them to the ground:

“After the explosion, it was chaos.  You never forget that moment afterwards, and I ran towards anybody who could help.  And I was, like, ‘My mother, my mother.  Somebody’s got to help my mother.’”

The bomb killed Robert

44-year-old Alice Hawthorne died instantly from injuries sustained in the explosion.  Although hundreds were injured, she was the only person killed by the bomb at Centennial Park.  A task force of federal and state investigators was quickly assembled to apprehend the terrorist behind this vicious attack. Over the next seven months, Atlanta was subjected to two more bombings.  But an even more disturbing trend had developed.  The bomber was now planting a second device apparently designed to harm police and rescue workers who responded to the victims of the first explosion. According to Special Agent Charles Stone of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, there was a reason police did not indicate a specific suspect:

“We were building a good, prosecutable court case based upon the forensic evidence we had where we could tie the bombs together, but we still didn’t know the identity of the bomber.  We didn’t know who he was.”

Eric was finally captured in North Carolina

According to Agent Stone, authorities received letters from the so-called Army of God who claimed responsibility for the last two bombings:

“In the letters, he got into the components of the bomb, which had not been made public at that time, so we knew the letters were written by the bomber.”

An FBI profiler analyzed the letters and the details of all three bombings.  He came to the conclusion that the bomber’s real target was law enforcement.

Eleven months after the third Atlanta bombing, head nurse Emily Lyons came to work early at a woman’s health and abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama.  Off-duty police officer Robert Sanderson was working there as a security guard.  Just then, Emily spotted something that looked strangely out of place:

“There was an overturned flowerpot kind of buried a little bit.  And that was not anything we would have ever had.  So at that point, Sandy knew something was wrong.”

The explosion instantly killed security guard Robert Sanderson.  Emily Lyons lost her left eye in the explosion.  Dozens of masonry nails and screws tore through 90% of her body.  Robert Sanderson left behind a wife and two sons.  He had been a Birmingham police officer for eight years.  Task force members believed the bomber had achieved his objective—to murder a law enforcement officer.  But this time the authorities got a break.  Forensics later revealed that the bomber had detonated this device by remote control.  According to Agent Stone, this meant the bomber had been there:

“That increased his chances of killing police officers, but it also directly increased his chances of being identified and caught.”

Police questioned a witness who saw a man walking away from the scene just after the explosion.  When the man removed a wig, the witness became suspicious and followed him. The witness observed the suspicious man getting into a pickup truck, and before losing him, relayed the license plate number to police.  The gray Nissan truck was traced to a man named Eric Rudolph, who resided in Western North Carolina.  A warrant was issued for his arrest.  Investigators learned where Eric Rudolph lived and an FBI SWAT team raided his trailer.  The trailer’s air conditioner was still running and food was still on the table.  Todd Letcher, coordinator of the Southeast Bomb Task Force, believed they missed Eric Rudolph by just minutes:

“He told friends and associates when he was a teenager that if he got in trouble with law enforcement, he would disappear into the mountains, and we feel that this is something that he was planning for a long time.”

250 law enforcement officers converged on the Nantahala National Forest after Rudolph’s truck was found abandoned nearby.  But Eric Rudolph had vanished.  Rudolph would prove to be a formidable adversary.  Investigators learned he’d been raised in a family that preached white separatism.  The experienced outdoorsman and survivalist had also served in the U.S. Army.  Deborah Rudolph was married to Eric’s brother and had known Eric since he was a teenager:

“I never really heard him talk about positive things.  It was a lot of hateful things.  A lot of negativity.  You know… our gun laws and government and politics.”

The last known sighting of Eric Rudolph was made by George Nordmann, a health food store owner who lived in a remote mountain cabin.  According to Agent Stone, Nordmann had known Eric Rudolph for years:

“When Eric approached him about foodstuffs, George made the decision not to help Eric and I believe became somewhat frightened of him.”

A few nights later, Nordmann’s home was raided.  Several hundred pounds of food and Nordmann’s truck were stolen.  It was believed Rudolph had made a return visit.

Update:

Five years after Eric Rudolph disappeared, a police officer noticed a suspicious person behind a market in Murphy, North Carolina.  Suspecting a burglary, the officer made an arrest.  The suspect proved to be none other than Eric Rudolph.  He was later convicted for his various bombings and sentenced to four life terms plus 120 years.


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season twelve with Robert Stack and in season three with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

 

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[DO WE DO THIS??]

 

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ARTICLE 1. Personalization
1.1 We may use the contact information you give us to better tailor your Website experience to your interests, and to send you information about Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. and its services as well as promotional material on behalf of some of our partners. We may use other information that you provide to us to show you content in which you may be interested and to display the content according to your preferences. We will also share this information within Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. in order to enhance your experience on this and other Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. Websites.
1.2 In addition, we may share this information with advertisers or other third parties that are not part of the Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. family on an aggregate or other basis that does not disclose your identity or contact information.

ARTICLE 2. Online Surveys/Contests
2.1 From time to time, we may conduct online surveys and contests. These may ask you for contact information (like name or email address) and demographic information (like zip code or age).
2.2 We may use this contact information from our surveys and contests to provide you with information about our company and promotional material on behalf of some of our partners, and to contact you when necessary.

ARTICLE 3. Shopping/Commercial Services
3.1 This Website may offer shopping services, which may be offered by us or by a firm that operates a store under contract with us. If our Website offers shopping or other commercial services, you will use a customer order form to request information, products, and services. The order form will ask you to give us contact information (like name or email address), financial information (like account or credit card numbers), and demographic information (like zip code or age).

3.2 We will use the financial information that you provide to bill you for products and services. By giving our Website your credit card and related personal information, you are authorizing our store to give that information to the merchant and credit card company in order to confirm and fulfill your order.

3.3 We will use contact information from the order form to fulfill your orders. We may also use contact data to get in touch with you when necessary. We will not otherwise use or distribute your financial information without your prior approval.

ARTICLE 4. Public forums
4.1 This Website may make available chat rooms, blogs, forums, message boards, and news groups. Please remember that any information that you disclose in these areas becomes public information and you should exercise caution when deciding to disclose your personal information. Information disclosed by you or by others enters the public domain and may be freely used by any other persons or entities using the site.

ARTICLE 5. Information Sharing With Third Parties
5.1 From time to time we may enter into a special relationship with another company that is not owned by Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. to provide additional features at this Website. These special relationships may include “powered by” partners, business partners, sponsors, and co-branded sites (referred to here as “co-branded pages”). These might include, for example, pages that share our name and that of another entity. You should look for a specific privacy statement on any such co-branded page. Any personal information that you provide when signing up at one of those co-branded pages may be shared with our third party partner. You should also check our partner’s website for information regarding its privacy policies.

5.2 Also, the nature of some features of our Website may require that we share personal information about you with persons or companies outside of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. For example, this may occur at a feature that enables you, via our Website, to ask questions of persons or entities that are not part of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. By responding to those features of the site, whether by email or direct entry of information on our Website, you are consenting to our transferring that information to such persons or entities.

5.3 With respect to specific registration modules, like contests, we may disclose personal information collected, and we may post a conspicuous statement on the registration module to the effect that we will be disclosing the information collected with third parties.

5.4 Finally, we may share any of the information collected from you with these other non- Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc companies in an aggregate basis. The aggregated information is not linked to any information that can identify you.

ARTICLE 6. IP Address and Log Files
6.1 We may use your IP address to administer our Website, to help diagnose problems with our server, to analyze trends, to track users’ webpage movements, to help identify you and your shopping cart, and to gather broad demographic information for aggregate use.

ARTICLE 7. Cookies
7.1 This Website may use a standard technology called a “cookie” to collect information about how you use the Website. Cookies reside on your computer and help our Website to recognize your computer’s browser as a previous visitor. This information allows us to customize delivery of information. For example, our Website may use cookies to save and remember registration information or preferences that you may have set while browsing the Website, to keep track of your shopping cart, to ensure you don’t see the same ad content repeatedly, to deliver content specific to your interests, and to save your password so you do not have to re-enter it each time you visit our site. We use cookies only to gather information as indicated in this policy.

7.2 In addition, on occasion our site may also set a “session cookie” which helps us administer the Website. The session cookie expires when you close your browser and does not retain any information about you after it expires.

7.3 Finally, we may also use an ad network provider to help present advertisements on this and other Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. websites. This ad network provider, like other advertising service vendors, uses cookies, web beacons, or similar technologies on the hard drive of your computer to serve you advertisements tailored to interests you have shown by browsing on this and other sites you have visited, and to determine whether you have seen a particular advertisement before and to avoid sending you duplicate advertisements. In doing so, the provider collects non-personal data such as your browser type, your operating system, web pages visited, time of visits, content viewed, ads viewed, and other clickstream data. The use of cookies, web beacons, or similar technologies by these ad network providers is subject to their own privacy policies, not ours, and Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. assumes no responsibility for the collection or use of such information.

ARTICLE 8. Banner Advertising
8.1 We have contracted with an ad-service to place banner advertising on our Website. All of the data provided and generated by the ad-server software remains in our possession. This feature of our Website may, on occasion, set “cookies” on your computer. Any information collected or stored by the ad-service or the cookies is treated in the same manner as other information described in this statement.

ARTICLE 9. Children’s Personal Information
9.1 Consistent with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act:

9.1.1 This site does NOT collect, use, or disclose personal information (including online contact information) of children under the age of thirteen (13).

9.1.2 In the event that a child under the age of 13 attempts to register on our site, we will NOT accept the registration and will delete information received from the child.

9.1.3 In the event that a child posts personal information in a public forum such as a chat room, we will attempt to delete that information once we become aware of it.

ARTICLE 10. Security of Your Personal Information
10.1 Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. employs reasonable security measures consistent with standard industry practice, for information collected through this Website. We believe that we have adequate security measures in place in our physical facilities to protect against the loss, misuse, or alteration of the information we collect on our Website. We also use internal protections to limit access to users’ personal information to only those employees who need the information to perform a specific job.

ARTICLE 11. Sale or Merger
11.1 If this Website is sold to, or merges with, another company not owned by Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc., you should expect that some or all of the information collected from this Website may be transferred to the buyer/surviving company. If so, CMP will seek to obligate the acquiring company to use any personal information transferred by this Website in a manner consistent with this statement, but cannot guarantee that it will be able to impose that requirement or that the acquiring company will comply.

ARTICLE 12. Legal Process
12.1 You should be aware that Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. may be required to disclose your personal information to the government or third parties under certain circumstances, such as in court or regulatory proceedings.

ARTICLE 13.  Contacting the Website

13.1        If you have any questions about this Privacy Statement, the practices of this Website, or your dealings with this Website, please contact us at: unsolved@unsolved.com.

ARTICLE 14.  general information

14.1        Choice of Law:  This Agreement and the Additional Terms shall be governed by, construed and enforced in accordance with the laws of the State of California , as it is applied to agreements entered into and to be performed entirely within such state, without regard to conflict of law principles.

14.2        Choice of Forum:  You agree that any cause of action you or Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. brings to enforce this Agreement and/or the Additional Terms, or in connection with any matters related to this Website and/or the Privacy Statement, shall be submitted to arbitration in the County of Los Angeles, State of California, United States of America in accordance with the commercial rules and regulations of the American Arbitration Association then in effect (as amended herein), provided that said arbitration shall be heard before a single arbitrator, who shall be a retired judge, selected pursuant to such rules and regulations, and shall be conducted on an expedited basis and in confidence. The arbitrator’s decision shall be controlled by the terms and conditions of this agreement and any other agreements I may enter into with you, and shall be final and binding, and shall provide for each party to bear its own costs of arbitration and attorneys’ fees.  Each party expressly waives any right to a jury.  Judgment upon the award of the arbitrator may be entered or enforced in any court of competent jurisdiction. 

14.4        If any provision of this Agreement, or the application thereof to any person or circumstances, is held invalid or for any reason unenforceable then such provision shall be deemed superseded by a valid, enforceable provision that matches, as closely as possible, the original provision, and the other provisions of this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect.  The failure of either party to insist upon strict performance of any provision of this Agreement shall not be construed as a waiver of any provision or right.  Unless expressly provided otherwise, this Agreement is the entire agreement between you and Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. with respect to the use of this Website and shall not be modified except in writing, signed by an authorized representative of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc.

ARTICLE 15.  European Union and Other Foreign Nations

15.1        This Website is governed by and operated in accordance with the laws of United States of America and is intended for enjoyment of residents of the United States.  Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. makes no representation that this Website is governed by or operated in accordance with the laws of other nations.  By using this Website and submitting any personal information, visitors from outside of the United States acknowledge this Website is subject to U.S. law, consent to the transfer of personal data to the U.S., and waive any claims that may arise under their own national laws.