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Killer may be questioned in unsolved Grinnell death

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CHICAGO (AP) -- Authorities are investigating whether a truck driver who police say has confessed to six killings is also linked to the unsolved stabbing death of a woman who was abducted while driving to college in Iowa nearly 15 years ago, officials said Tuesday.

FBI agents have contacted investigators in Tennessee about questioning 56-year-old trucker Bruce Mendenhall in the 1992 slaying of Grinnell College student Tammy Zywicki, said Ross Rice, an FBI spokesman in Chicago.

Witnesses reported seeing Zywicki with her disabled car and a tractor-trailer parked nearby when she was last seen alive along an Illinois interstate.

'We have an over-the-road trucker who is accused of murdering at least one woman who was abducted in a roadside situation, which is exactly what happened in the Zywicki case. I think it would be a dereliction of our duties if we didn't look into it,' Rice said.

Mendenhall, of Albion in southern Illinois, was arrested Thursday at an interstate truck stop in Nashville, Tenn., where a woman was found fatally shot last month. Authorities say Mendenhall confessed to killing 25-year-old Sara Hulbert along with five other people in Tennessee, Indiana, Alabama and Georgia.

Authorities have investigated hundreds of leads in the death of Zywicki, a 21-year-old New Jersey resident who had dropped her brother off at Northwestern University before heading to Grinnell on the afternoon of Aug. 23, 1992.

Her abandoned car was found later that day parked along Interstate 80 near LaSalle, Ill., and her body was found more than a week later along Interstate 44 in southwestern Missouri.

Mendenhall has been charged with criminal homicide in Hulbert's death. Authorities are investigating whether he is responsible for five other killings that police say he confessed to after a detective recognized his rig from a description of a truck spotted at the truck stop shortly before Hulbert's body was found.


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