Police across New England and the nation are searching for two Vermont teenagers wanted for the murders of two Dartmouth College professors.
The manhunt received new focus Sunday morning when Massachusetts state police found a silver 1987 Audi driven by the teens in a Sturbridge, Mass., truck stop just off of Interstate 84, about two miles from the Connecticut border.
Authorities said the tennagers were sighted at a rest area in Columbia, N.J, and may be on their way to California
Chelsea, Vt., residents Robert Tulloch, 17, and James Parker, 16, were charged with first-degree murder Friday in connection with the deaths of Dartmouth professors Half and Suzanne Zantop.
The two allegedly stabbed the Zantops multiple times and should be considered dangerous, New Hampshire Senior Assistant Attorney General Kelly Ayotte said at a press conference Saturday. Police said Sunday they believed the boys were still armed. The Zantops were found dead in their Hanover, N.H., home Jan. 27.
Investigators have declined to elaborate on either a motive or the evidence linking Tulloch and Parker with the crime. Under New Hampshire law, a charge of first-degree murder requires premeditation, indicating the murders were not random acts.
The Dartmouth, the college’s student newspaper, reported Sunday afternoon on its Web site that a restaurant hostess who works at the Sturbridge truck stop saw Parker and Tulloch Friday.
The hostess, Sharon Palmer, told The Dartmouth a cook saw the two boys arrive in the Audi Friday afternoon at about 4 p.m.
Palmer said Parker appeared upset and was carrying a small backpack that did not appear full. She said they likely left with a truck driver between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m.
Massachusetts state police found the Audi at the truck stop at about 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning but were unsure exactly how long the vehicle had been there, State Police Sgt. Ronald Sieberg said.
The Audi was covered in snow, likely from a small storm Friday.
No further sightings of Tulloch and Parker have been reported. Residents of their homes have refused comment to the media.
Casey Purcell, a Chelsea resident and friend of Tulloch, said Saturday the two boys left town a few days after the murder, returned, and then left again.
The pair said they were going rock climbing in Colorado and returned because Tulloch cut his leg on a maple tree sap bucket while walking in the woods, Purcell said.
Suzanne Zantop, 55, chaired Dartmouth’s German Studies Department while her husband Half, 62, was a geology professor. Their deaths stunned Dartmouth and the small surrounding community of Hanover.
In a statement on the college’s Web site, Dartmouth President James Wright said Tulloch and Parker had no apparent connection with the college.
–The Associated Press contributed to this report.