Teens in Custody in College Murders

Monday, February 19th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW CASTLE, Ind. (AP) — Two teen-agers wanted in the slaying of two Dartmouth College professors were taken into custody Monday, authorities said.

Henry County Sheriff Kim Cronk confirmed that the two suspects were taken into custody at 4 a.m. EST near Interstate 70. He gave no details on how they were found or where.

New Castle is about 40 miles east of Indianapolis.

A nationwide manhunt had been launched for James Parker, 16, and Robert Tulloch, 17. They were believed to have left their hometown of Chelsea, Vt., on Thursday bound for Massachusetts.

Two employees at the Sturbridge Isle truck stop in Sturbridge, Mass., spotted two boys matching the suspects' descriptions Friday evening. A police officer later found a silver 1987 Audi belonging to Parker's mother in the parking lot of the truck stop, about two miles from the Connecticut line.

Parker and Tulloch are charged as adults with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Half and Susanne Zantop, whose bodies were found Jan. 27.

The two were found dead by a dinner guest arriving at their secluded home in their home near the Dartmouth campus in Hanover, N.H. The slayings shocked the 6,500-student campus and community.

Orange County, Vt., Sheriff Dennis McClure said Monday the two boys became suspects because one bought a military-style knife on the Internet. The boys were asked Thursday to provide their fingerprints, which they did voluntarily.

``All I know is that the prints probably matched enough (from the crime scene) for an identification,'' McClure said.

The teens allegedly stabbed the professors multiple times in the head and chest. Authorities have refused to discuss a motive or any connection between the boys and the victims.

Casey Purcell, a friend of Tulloch's from Vermont, said the teen-agers left town in the days after the killings, then returned two or three days later. He said they left home again after that.

Tulloch told Purcell the pair wanted to go rock climbing in Colorado, but returned home because Tulloch had an infected leg wound. Tulloch said he cut his leg on a maple tree sap bucket while walking in the woods.

Audrey McCollum, friend and neighbor of the Zantops, said the arrest does not ease the pain for her and her husband, Bob, who found the couple's bodies.

``These two extraordinary people are still dead and, in a sense, the tragedy is extended because if these two kids did it, which hasn't yet been proven, what it tells me is that our society has just gone off the rails,'' said McCollum, a retired psychotherapist.

``I ache for their family and their friends,'' she said. ``They must be asking themselves, 'Where did we go wrong.'''

Half Zantop, 62, taught earth sciences. Susanne Zantop, 55, was chairwoman of the German Studies Department. Both were naturalized citizens who were natives of Germany and traveled abroad frequently.