Best Manhunt Tools: Publicity, Shoe Leather
Investigators turn to the public for help in tracking the elusive killer of fashion designer Gianni Versace
MIAMI BEACH, FLA.
The hunt for the most wanted man in America - the killer of fashion designer Gianni Versace and possibly four other men - is relying on two potent weapons: Old-fashioned detective work and massive publicity.
"It is a big country and it is tough when you don't know which direction the guy is going," says John Hanlon, a former FBI agent who directed a major serial-killer case in the 1980s. "But somebody has got to have seen this guy."
By broadcasting the suspect's photo nationwide, investigators are enlisting the eyes of the nation to help spot their man.
Investigators say the chief suspect in the killing, Andrew Cunanan, may have been spotted by patrons of several gay nightclubs in Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach two weeks prior to the shooting.
Despite such sightings, here and in other parts the country during the past three months, Mr. Cunanan eluded capture. In that way, this case underscores the difficulty of apprehending even the most sought-after criminals. The alleged Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski, remained at large for nearly two decades. The notorious Ted Bundy, another serial killer, escaped from a Colorado jail and murdered with impunity for a year. But in the end, they and others were brought to justice in large part due to widespread publicity.
Mr. Hanlon, now a state prosecutor in south Florida, says the FBI's $10,000 reward is too low. He says the money has to rise into the six-figure range to inspire action. "Money buys a lot of disloyalty," he says.
But the single most important tool at this point in the investigation, he says, is publicity. For example, "America's Most Wanted," a television show that enlists the public to help capture criminals, will feature him for the fifth time this weekend. The programs have generated some 450 phone calls about Cunanan.
The problem is that Cunanan, who is described by his own mother as "a high-class homosexual prostitute," doesn't appear to have any distinguishing features and seems to be able to easily change his appearance. The FBI's own wanted photos show a man who could be four different suspects rather than one.