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Witness in clinic bombing sought in N.C. mountains

Federal agents trying to locate a material witness to the nation's first fatal abortion clinic bombing continued to search a rugged region where the man was last known to live.

Flanked by agents wearing bulletproof vests and carrying high-powered rifles, a tow truck pulled a gray 1989 Nissan truck out of a backwoods pasture Monday and took it to the local National Guard Armory."We consider it a big break for us," Brian Lett, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, told The Charlotte Observer. "The common denominator in this whole puzzle being the truck, we have to assume he's still in the area."

The truck's owner, Eric Robert Rudolph, is being sought as a material witness in the Jan. 29 blast at the New Woman All Women Clinic in Birmingham, Ala. Witnesses reported seeing the truck near the clinic.

Investigators have converged on this mountainous area where western North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia come together. The region has its share of political and religious extremists. It was not known whether Rudolph had ties to them, although neighbors and former teachers said he had a strong distrust of governmental authority.

Federal and state agents on Monday fanned out around the area where the truck was found, questioning neighbors and searching an abandoned farmhouse. Agents refused to comment on their search.