07/25/2003

Police Using National TV Appearance to Draw Attention to Manhunt

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Police are taking their search for a man accused of killing his wife and burying her body in a shallow grave to the national airwaves.

State Police Trooper D.S. Snider and a U.S. marshal are scheduled to appear on the television show ``America's Most Wanted'' this weekend in Washington, Senior Trooper Jay Powers said Friday afternoon.

Trooper J.A. Bowles originally was to appear with Snider but there was change in the plan, Powers said.

Police believe the television appearance will bring attention to the search for Gary Culp, 56, who has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of his 55-year-old wife, Linda Culp.

"We're still working our part as far as the murder is concerned, still playing the waiting game," Powers said Friday.

Authorities believe Gary Culp may be driving his 1978 white Mercedes toward Utah, Arizona or Colorado. Police earlier indicated that he could be traveling west on Interstate 70.

Friends say Gary Culp, a retired chemical engineer, has Huntington's disease, an incurable disease that destroys the mind and has affected about 30,000 Americans.

Linda Culp's body was found Tuesday in a shallow grave near the Culps' property in Kenna in Jackson County. Police have not released a possible motive for the killing.

Results of an autopsy performed on Linda Culp's body by the state Medical Examiner's Office were not available Friday, Powers said.

Her friends contacted police after she failed to report to work for several days. She was the president and chief executive officer of Marymount Medical Center in London, Ky.

Don Culp of Baltimore, the suspect's brother, contacted State Police on Monday and said he had received a letter from Gary Culp "outlining details about killing Linda Culp," according to a police document.

Before taking the job at Marymount in 2002, Linda Culp had worked at St. Joseph's Hospital in Parkersburg for more than 30 years, including as chief operating officer.

The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation has established a scholarship fund in Linda Culp's memory. The fund will help women complete their education or get additional schooling, said Sheryl Holdren, a friend of Linda Culp's and a former administrator at St. Joseph's.

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