Manhunt expands in Seward

Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Alaska State Troopers have expanded the search area in pursuit of a 31-year-old Seward man wanted in connection with the Saturday shooting death of John Tulin.

Tulin, 43, was found dead in the driveway of his residence in the Questa Woods subdivision near Mile 6 of the Seward Highway.

Troopers are looking for Bill Conger, a friend of Tulin's, who has been identified as a suspect in the shooting.

"We want to hear his side," said Capt. Tom Bowman, commander of the trooper E Detachment headquartered in Soldotna.

"We have absolutely no idea as to a motive in the shooting," he said.

Troopers are hoping Conger turns himself in before anyone else is injured or killed, Bowman said.

He said Tuesday the search area -- still confined to the eastern side of the Kenai Peninsula -- was expanded from approximately Mile 9 of the Seward Highway north of the seaport to Primrose Creek near Crown Point, which is about Mile 19 of the highway.

Conger is considered armed and dangerous. He is believed to have entered two unoccupied buildings in the Seward area since fleeing on foot into the woods Saturday, and at one building, he left his single shot rifle and took a tube-fed, lever action, .45-70-caliber rifle, Bow-man said.

Although Conger has not been spotted by troopers or civilians since disappearing, troopers have found signs of him, including tracks in an area from which he is believed to have watched the search efforts.

"We believe he watched us from up on the knoll with his scoped rifle," Bowman said.

"He had the opportunity to shoot at us and he chose not to. We just want him to come in and tell us his side of things," he said.

Conger also is believed to have taken food and other supplies from the two buildings he allegedly broke into.

In addition to approximately 20 state troopers, others assisting in the manhunt for Conger include Special Emergency Response Teams from Palmer and Soldotna, Seward police, Alaska Railroad investigators patrolling train tracks along the Seward Highway, Anchorage airport police, U.S. Marshals and police departments in Soldotna, Kenai and Homer.

Bowman said Kenai Peninsula residents should not pick up any hitchhikers while the manhunt is being conducted and should keep doors locked, not leave keys in all-terrain vehicles or other vehicles and should not leave any weapons in vehicles.

"Also, we're asking people to be careful with their neighbors," he said.

"That noise you hear next door might be the neighbor's child or pet. Be careful so no one gets hurt accidentally," Bowman said.

Anyone with information that could help troopers find Conger is asked to call 262-4453 in Soldotna, (907) 235-8239 in Homer or Seward police at (907) 224-3346.

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