CHICAGO – A jailed white supremacist who has been a focus of the investigation into the slayings of a federal judge's husband and mother will no longer be allowed to visit or speak with his parents, the family said Tuesday.
An official from the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where Matt Hale (search) is being held, called Hale's parents Monday and told them they would not be allowed their weekly telephone calls and every-other-week visits, the parents said.
They said the official did not give a reason or explain when they would be able to talk to their son or see him again.
"I was just so stunned that I didn't think to ask why," said Hale's father, Russell Hale, a retired East Peoria police sergeant. "It's especially hard because we need him now and he needs us."
Authorities have said white supremacists are just one avenue of the investigation. On Tuesday, Chicago detectives and FBI (search) agents searched the law office of the judge's husband and spent hours examining his files in search of leads, a source familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Neither the FBI nor the U.S. attorney's office would comment on the visits between Hale and his parents or the search of the law office.
Matt Hale, 33, was convicted last year of soliciting an FBI informant to kill Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow (search) after she ordered him to stop using the name World Church of the Creator for his group because of a trademark lawsuit.
Before he was cut off from the family visits, Hale had been isolated from other inmates and allowed only rare visits from his parents.
The parents speculated that authorities might be upset over a statement Matt Hale released through his mother last week in which he denied any part in the deaths and suggested the killings might have been staged to bring a stiffer sentence when he is sentenced next month for soliciting Lefkow's murder.
In addition to questioning Matt Hale, agents have also spoken with Hale's brother and other relatives, according to his mother, Evelyn Hutcheson (search). The mother said she was also questioned by investigators who asked if Hale communicated with her in code.
Hale's mother said she does not believe any suspicion about a code prompted authorities to call off visits and phone calls with her son.
The judge found her husband, Michael Lefkow, 64, and mother, Donna Humphrey, 89, shot to death in the basement of her home Feb. 28 when she returned home from work.
Investigators have gathered several pieces of evidence from the home and neighborhood, including a broken window with a fingerprint and a cigarette butt found in a sink.
Another source close to the investigation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday that DNA found on the cigarette does not match any known criminal profile in the United States or any member of the Lefkow family.
More than 2.27 million genetic profiles are available for matching in the national database, but the source said that number "is tiny compared to the fingerprint database."