Tip unsuccessful in search for suspect UGA professor's Jeep

BOGART, Ga. -- Oconee County sheriff’s deputies this afternoon inspected a property off Plantation Road in rural Bogart after a woman remembered that on Saturday she saw an SUV like the car of missing University of Georgia professor George Zinkhan III.

Becky Stonecipher saw the Jeep pass her house — which sits on a dirt road about six miles west of Watkinsville — about two hours after Zinkhan allegedly shot and killed his wife and two men outside of the Athens Community Theater, she said this morning.

But deputies didn’t find any immediate evidence on the scene.

“I didn’t really think anything about it until Sunday morning, when I was watching TV and saw a picture of the Jeep police were looking for,” she said.

Authorities across the country are searching for Zinkhan.

He was last seen driving a red 2005 Jeep Liberty with Georgia tag number AIX 1376.

A similar Jeep passed Stonecipher’s house between 2 and 3 p.m. Saturday.

“I pay attention to things like that,” she said, explaining that some of her neighbors’ homes had been burglarized.

Stonecipher called Athens-Clarke police Sunday morning, and a detective arrived this morning to interview her, she said.

Early this afternoon, Oconee County sheriff’s deputies spoke with the woman and decided to check out her story, Sheriff Scott Berry said.

About a half dozen sheriff’s deputies inspected nearby property, including outside a large metal warehouse with garage doors that could easily fit several vehicles, but they saw no signs of fresh tire tracks.

Still, the deputies are trying to find the property owner and get permission to enter the building.

“We can’t rule it out” that Zinkhan’s Jeep might be there, a deputy said.

Stonecipher was glad officers were tracking down her tip.

“I’m so scared when I’m here by myself and my husband is working,” she said. “I’m worried about what might be down the road. I’ve moved furniture against my doors and windows.”

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