April 30, 1995 in Nation/World

Fbi Agents Trying To Reconstruct Ryder Truck That Carried Bomb

Associated Press
 

FBI agents worked Saturday to piece together recovered shards of metal from the rental truck that carried a deadly terrorist bomb to the federal building.

And, as the families of more than 60 missing still waited for news, other workers carried an even grimmer burden from the building: tiny red wagons and twisted tricycles from the building’s day-care center.

Meanwhile, a law enforcement source gave The Associated Press an amended version of what authorities know about a possible second getaway car that appears in an ATM video of the federal building.

That vehicle carried an Arizona license plate, but not plate LZC646, which was on suspect Timothy McVeigh’s yellow 1977 Mercury Marquis five days before the bombing, the source said. The license plate was missing when McVeigh was stopped by a state trooper just after the blast.

The source had said Friday that the plate on the second car was McVeigh’s plate.

The source also said Saturday that the second vehicle was parked with the truck in front of the building.

A senior federal official, meanwhile, said the ATM camera also picked up a Ford Explorer that passed within a few seconds of the truck. The official said authorities are looking for the Ford Explorer - either because it was connected to the bombing, or because its occupants may have information.

Fears of another collapse hindered search efforts in the area of the building known as “the pit,” where part of the day-care center and Social Security offices are thought to lie.

“The building is in a lot worse shape than we thought it was,” said assistant fire chief Jon Hansen.

Those organizing the search may eventually have to decide whether it’s worth continuing to risk searchers’ safety, he said. “The building is not cooperating with us.”

City bomb squad Lt. Nathan Pyle said workers were “slowly losing hope that there’s going to be anybody left alive.” But, “with all the prayers, there’s still a chance.”

One family’s prayers, at least, were answered Saturday, giving a rare moment of relief to a city still facing funerals every day.

“If you ever run across anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles, here’s one right here,” said Jim Denny, looking down at his red-haired daughter, 2-year-old Rebecca, wheeled out of a hospital with her arm in a sling and scabs on her face.

But his joy was only partial. His 3-year-old son, Brandon, is still in very serious condition at another hospital, communicating only by squeezing his parents’ hands.

The rescue workers have recovered pieces of the bomb itself, plus pieces of the Ryder truck that carried it, Pyle said.

“We’re finding anything from golf ball-size pieces to dollar-size pieces to half the frame,” Pyle said. All were turned over to the FBI for reconstruction efforts, he said.

The Florida license plate that was on the truck has been recovered.

Early Saturday, firefighters briefly stopped work and held a moment of silence when they discovered the body of the sister of an Oklahoma City firefighter.

“This one was a lot more personal for us,” Hansen said. He would not identify the woman.

The death toll rose to 124, including 15 children.

“We’re still looking at four or five days (of locating bodies),” medical examiner Ray Blakeney said. “Hopefully at this time next week, we’ll be through.”

© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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