Sheriff says Rudolph nearly starved during first winter in woods; foraged and hunted for food
Tuesday, June 3rd 2003, 12:00 am
News On 6
MURPHY, N.C. (AP) -- Olympic bombing suspect Eric Rudolph told his jailers he struggled to stay alive during his five years as a fugitive and said he hunted turkeys, boar and deer, the sheriff said Tuesday.
"He talked about the conditions being hard at times," Cherokee County Sheriff Keith Lovin said. "The first winter he about starved. He said, 'It's kind of hard to live on acorns and lizards."'
Rudolph was in hiding for five years, starting in 1998, apparently spending the whole time in and around Murphy, in the rugged forests of western North Carolina.
"He talked about foraging for supplies and hunting," Lovin said. "Turkeys, wild boar, bear, deer."
Rudolph said he was able to dry some vegetables, the sheriff said.
Lovin declined to comment on what type of gun Rudolph used for hunting or whether authorities had located it. The Charlotte Observer reported Tuesday that jailer Joe Morris said Rudolph carried a .223-caliber rifle.
Rudolph was arrested early Saturday morning behind a grocery store, apparently looking for food. After a court appearance in Asheville, he was taken to Birmingham, Ala., where he is to stand trial in a 1998 abortion clinic bombing.
Rudolph, who spent two days in jail here, did not say anything about whether he received any assistance while he was in hiding, and jailers did not ask him, Lovin said.
"I do not believe that he spent this whole time out in the woods," Lovin said. "I've never believed that."
When he was arrested, Rudolph's hair was cut short, he had a mustache and about two day's growth of stubble on his cheeks and chin. He wore sneakers and his clothes were relatively clean.
During his time in jail here, Lovin said, Rudolph "was always polite; he was relaxed. He slept off and on."
He said Rudolph at the same food as the other inmates, although he asked for some fresh fruits and vegetables, which Lovin said he provided.
In addition to the Birmingham clinic bombing, Rudolph also faces charged stemming from three Atlanta-area bombings: One at Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Summer Olympics and 1997 bombings at an office building housing an abortion clinic and a gay nightclub.