Seward manhunt continues

Posted: Tuesday, July 22, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) The hunt for a man suspected of killing his close friend over the weekend continued in a densely wooded area near Seward.

As of Monday night, outdoorsman Bill Conger had not been found, Alaska State Troopers said.

Conger, 31, is suspected of killing John Tulin, 43, a friend and co-worker. Tulin was found shot to death with a large-caliber rifle in his driveway Saturday night, troopers said.

Tulin lived with his wife and daughter in a trailer outside Seward. His wife reported the shooting around 9 p.m., said trooper Captain Tom Bowman. She did not see the shooting, he said, but saw Conger with her husband around the time of the incident.

Troopers believe Conger fled into nearby woods. They began searching for him late Saturday, and the manhunt continued in full force Monday.

Bowman said two K-9 units, two helicopter crews and two Special Emergency Response Teams were scouring a six-square-mile area near Mile 6 Seward Highway. Troopers also were watching the Seward Highway from Girdwood to Seward, and the Alaska Railroad tracks, which cut through the area, he said.

Diana MacDonell, operations manager at the business where Conger worked, said she suspected he was still in the woods.

''I know Bill didn't have any money so he won't be getting on any planes,'' she said. ''He lived from paycheck to paycheck.''

Conger and Tulin worked together at Auction Block, a company that buys and sells commercial fish. Tulin was hired in March as a dock foreman, MacDonell said.

Tulin hired Conger to be a forklift driver, MacDonell said. The two men were practically inseparable, she said.

''They were very good friends for a number of years,'' MacDonell said. ''They were on a pool league together. ... We used to joke they were attached at the hip.''

MacDonell said the shooting stunned everyone at work. ''They did argue, there's no doubt about that ... but they always made up.''

The wooded area troopers have been searching is peppered with homes, Bowman said, ''everything from blue-tarped cabins to extremely nice multilevel homes,'' he said.

Troopers said Conger may have broken into at least two cabins and exchanged his single-shot rifle for a magazine-loaded weapon.

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