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Investigator still optimistic about finding killer

A chief investigator in the murders of five college students said Wednesday that he remained optimistic that the killer eventually will be caught. "We have physical evidence we think will be beneficial to us one day," said J. O. Jackson, the chief investigator for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on the joint task force investigating the August killings.

Although investigators declined to comment on specific suspects, they did say Edward Lewis Humphrey, a 19-year-old University of Florida student, is still being looked at.

However, laboratory tests have shown that some of the important physical evidence at the scene of two of the murders was not from Humphrey. Authorities still consider Humphrey a suspect based on other evidence.

Humphrey was convicted of battery in an attack on his 79-year-old grandmother and faces up to 22 months in prison when he is sentenced next month. He also is charged with assault in Gainesville and attempted rape in Indian River County.

Investigators said they are continuing to compare killings in other states with the grisly Gainesville murders but so far have found no links.

Authorities said a knife found in a recent search of a Gainesville nature park was not connected to the killings.

In addition to Jackson, attending the news briefing were State Attorney Len Register, city Police Chief Wayland Clifton, Alachua County Undersheriff Win Phillips and university Police Chief Everett Stephens.

Meanwhile, authorities said police patrols will stop taking thumbprints from people stopped at random at night in the area where the five students were slain.

Robyn Blumner, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, said two students complained about the random thumbprinting last week. Her organization then complained to the task force investigating the killings.