NEW POTENTIAL SUSPECT IN UNABOMBER CASE

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A fugitive from a bomb-related charge not seen since he went underground in 1976 is a ''potential suspect'' in the Unabom serial bombing case, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.

The fugitive - James Kilgore - is best known for his connections to the Symbionese Liberation Army, the radical group that kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst in 1974.

The Times story notes parallels with the Unabomber. The height and general appearance are about right, as is the timing. The Unabomber began mailing his deadly packages in 1978, not long after Kilgore disappeared, vowing to attack the United States government.

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But the FBI has not pressed hard to find him, the Times said, much to the frustration of some critics of the investigation into the 17-year-old series of attacks that have killed three people and wounded 23.

''He is the only fugitive wanted for bombing and hiding for 18 years - and they can't find him?'' said one law-enforcement source the newspaper quoted.

The theory that Kilgore might be the Unabomber was ''looked at with a fine-toothed comb,'' a federal source told the paper. ''Although he hasn't been totally eliminated, it doesn't strike any of [the investigators] as a juicy thing.''

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