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Police: Body found fits description of missing professor

ATHENS - Police believe a body found hidden in dirt and brush Saturday in the north Georgia woods is a professor accused of killing his wife and two other people at a community theater two weeks ago.

Two guns were found with a body that fits the description of marketing professor George Zinkhan, who vanished after the April 25 shootings near the University of Georgia, said Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Joseph Lumpkin.

The guns matched those described by witnesses to the shootings, though police did not say how they believe Zinkhan died. Authorities hoped to have a positive identification and cause of death by the end of Saturday.

"There's nothing to indicate to us that it's not him," said Jim Fullington of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Cadaver dogs located the body about 10 miles west of Athens in thick woods in Bogart, where Zinkhan lived. Searchers - as many as 200 at one point - had been scouring the woods since his Jeep was found wrecked and abandoned in a ravine about a mile away a week ago.

Reached by phone at her home in Baltimore, his mother, Mary, said she was aware of the discovery.

"I've heard that news," she said. "I have nothing to say about it."

Zinkhan has been missing since police said he left his two young children in the Jeep and then opened fire on a reunion for the Town & Gown Players, a local theater group.

He had argued outside the theater with his wife, Marie Bruce, 47, a family law attorney who was serving as the group's president.

Police say he walked away briefly before returning with two handguns and killing her, along with Clemson University economist and actor Tom Tanner, 40, and Ben Teague, 63, a longtime theater group volunteer who was married to a popular UGA professor. Two other people were injured by bullet fragments.

Police at first said they had no motive for the shooting, but the FBI said later Bruce may have been considering a divorce.

Zinkhan was last seen dropping the children off at a neighbor's house shortly after the shooting, saying there was an emergency.

Bulletins were issued nationwide and authorities kept watch on airports in case Zinkhan tried to flee to Amsterdam, where he had taught part-time at a university since 2007. Federal authorities later revealed Zinkhan had an upcoming flight booked to Amsterdam, but the professor never showed up at the airport.

Zinkhan had been a professor in the university's Terry College of Business and had no disciplinary problems, school officials said. He had taught at UGA since the 1990s and was fired after the shootings.

"I express my sincerest condolences to the loved ones and friends of the victims of this tragedy," UGA President Michael Adams said. "Our hearts go out to each of them as they try to bring closure to and cope with the pain and sorrow these losses of life have caused them. May they ultimately find healing and peace."

Bob Covington, the neighbor who Zinkhan dropped his children off with after the shooting, called Saturday's discovery "another sad chapter to the story."

"For the community, the families, his kids and this neighborhood, this last chapter will provide some healing," Covington said. "It's been two weeks of people being on pins and needles, every time you see a police car. I think this will ease a lot of tension. People can get back to their lives and move on from this horrible tragedy."

Associated Press writer Dorie Turner in Atlanta contributed to this report.