FBI Offers $50,000 in Search for Serial Slay Suspect

The FBI on Tuesday offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of suspected Louisiana serial killer (searchDerrick Todd Lee (search ).

Authorities were scouring the Atlanta area after the 34-year-old fugitive was spotted there Monday afternoon.

Lee was last seen around mid-day Monday at a motel in southeast Atlanta, Special Agent Theodore Jackson of the FBI's Atlanta office said. Police said Lee had taken a bus to Atlanta from Louisiana.

The Zachary, La., man was charged in a warrant issued Monday with first-degree murder and aggravated rape in the killing of 26-year-old Carrie Yoder, a Louisiana State University graduate student who became the serial killer's fifth known victim in March.

Lee has not been charged with any of the previous four killings, but police confirmed that DNA (search) had linked him to the murders. On Tuesday, police said he also was a possible suspect in the disappearance of a woman in 1998 and another slaying in 1992.

Lee was described as a black male just over 6 feet tall and about 210 pounds with short hair and a muscular build. Anyone with information about Lee's whereabouts is urged to call 1-866-389-3310. Jackson said the suspect should be considered armed and extremely dangerous.

Authorities in Zachary, a Baton Rouge suburb, said police obtained a DNA sample from Lee -- which linked him to the five slayings -- earlier this month because they were investigating him for an unconnected disappearance in their town.

Zachary Police Chief Joey Watson said a detective was given a tip from one of Lee's relatives that Lee was discussing the disappearance of Randi Mebruer, 28, who vanished from her home in April 1998.

The tip, combined with a review of Lee's criminal history led investigators to seek a DNA sample from Lee, and a court order was obtained, Watson said Tuesday. The sample was obtained May 5, authorities said.

That same day, Lee abruptly pulled his two children out of school in St. Francisville, saying he was moving to Los Angeles, according to Lloyd Lindsey, superintendent of West Feliciana school system.

Vernon Keenan, of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said investigators believe Lee went to Chicago and at least twice to Atlanta after May 5.

"We know he's here now," Keenan said Tuesday in Atlanta. "We don't know why he's here."

Zachary police also suspect Lee is connected to the murder of Connie Warner, 41, who was found killed in September 1992, also in Zachary, Watson said.

The Warner and Mebruer cases have not been linked to the serial killer, but Watson said he believes they were all connected. Watson said DNA evidence found in the Mebruer case is still being tested. He had no details on whether DNA tests were also pending in the 1992 case.

"There wasn't enough to say with all certainty, but there's enough to suspect that they're all related," he said.

The warrant Monday accuses Lee only of Yoder's murder, though it says DNA evidence removed from Yoder's body matched that taken from the other four victims.

Special Agent Jackson called him "a smooth talker who gains his victim's confidence prior to turning violent."

Lee was named as a suspect nearly a year after police linked the murders of three Baton Rouge women to a single DNA profile, creating a frenzy in the area as women flocked to self-defense classes and bought pepper spray and handguns. Two other cases were linked later.

In a massive 10-month DNA dragnet, police took cheek scrapings and swabbings from more than 1,000 men. The search led some men to complain they felt pressured to volunteer their DNA to rid themselves of suspicion. Defense attorneys have questioned the legality of the search.

The DNA match to Lee, a black man, conflicts with an FBI profile released months ago that said the killer likely was white. Police said after Yoder's murder that the killer could be of any race.

Yoder, from Tampa, Fla., was severely beaten, raped and strangled. The other victims were Gina Wilson Green, 41; Charlotte Murray Pace, 22; Pam Kinamore, 44, all of Baton Rouge; and Trineisha Dene Colomb, 23, of Lafayette.

Ann Pace, mother of the killer's second victim, said she was "overwhelmed and nauseated" when she heard a suspect was named in the case. "Of course, I wish it had happened sooner," she said.

Ed White, Kinamore's brother-in-law, said his family wouldn't be "totally elated" until Lee was captured.

On Friday, investigators had released a sketch of a possible suspect, a man who tried to rape one woman and approached two others last year. The photo of Lee bears a similarity to the sketch, which is of a black man, but police said Monday they had not connected Lee to those encounters in St. Martin Parish.

Lee's home in St. Francisville, a small town north of Baton Rouge, was abandoned Monday. A reporter walking through the house found carpets ripped up, siding torn away and light fixtures torn out. Neighbor Sherman Drury said he had not seen Lee in about a week.

Records show Lee and his wife filed for bankruptcy in November, and a court order to allow foreclosure on his house was signed May 16. Bankruptcy records listed Lee's occupation as a truck driver.

Jane Lee, who identified herself as Lee's grandmother when contacted by phone in St. Francisville, said her grandson and his wife have two children. She said she was concerned about the warrant but wouldn't answer further questions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.