No law-enforcement resources were spared in the hunt for Eric Rudolph, who was believed to be responsible for the 1996 bombing in Atlanta during the Olympics, as well as the bombing of a gay club and two abortion clinics.
The search centered on the nooks and crannies of the western North Carolina mountains, but an unprecedented FBI manhunt turned up few clues. Many police thought Mr. Rudolph had left the area, but he actually survived for five years wandering between two camps within sight of the church steeples of Murphy, N.C.
Depending on his own survival skills as well as probably a small band of sympathizers in contrarian-minded moonshine country, Rudolph survived by apparently raiding home gardens and fishing. Many local residents reported seeing him, but apparently FBI "wanted" posters didn't spring to mind.
But the allure of living on the outskirts of society – albeit a society he rejected – may have worn thin, some suggested. In May 2003, a rookie Murphy police officer spotted a man in the early morning hours raiding a dumpster behind the town Sav-A-Lot store. After his arrest, Rudolph signed autographs of his "wanted" posters for sheriff's deputies.
"I'd like to say he was or he wasn't [helped]," Officer Jeff Postell, a former Wal-Mart security guard who caught Rudolph behind the Save-A-Lot market, told the Monitor at the time. "But I don't know."