HOPE, Ark. -- Two hitchhikers held by authorities for two days for questioning in four slayings in Texas and Arkansas passed lie-detector tests and were released, authorities said.
The two men, who had cooperated with police, were freed late Friday night and given one-way bus tickets to Terre Haute, Ind., said Jerry Bush, a dispatcher for the Hempstead County Sheriff's Department. An explanation for the tickets was not given.
Bush said a probable cause hearing to determine if the pair should continued to be held was canceled Friday night after both passed polygraph exams shortly before the hearing.
'Fingerprints were compared and numerous witnesses were asked to I.D. these men,' said Bush. 'Hair samples were taken and analyzed, polygraph tests given (Friday) to both of them, and after consulting with all law enforcement agencies involved, it was a unanimous decision that no charges should be filed and the defendants released,' he said.
Authorities had questioned the men about the three slayings in Texas and one in Arkansas that occurred during a 14-hour period Monday. Charges were never filed.
The two suspects were arrested by police while hitchhiking Wednesday night in Muskogee, Okla.
Hempstead County Sheriff Don Worthey said the suspects were held for 'investigative purposes' because they fit the descriptions witnesses gave of men seen near the homes of of the victims.
The string of killings began with the hatchet slaying Deana Andrews Woodard, 23, of Gainesville, Texas, near the Oklahoma border.
Woodard was caring for her 1-year-old son when her throat was slashed Monday morning, and her car was stolen, police said. The child was not harmed. A bloody hatchet found at the scene was being checked for fingerprints.
Cecil Floyd Morrison, 85, and his son, Cecil Leonard Morrison, 62, apparently died of gunshot wounds and repeated blows to the head in their house in Farmersville, Texas, shortly after noon Monday, authorities said.
Their car was stolen and abandoned southwest of Saratoga, Ark., near the body of the fourth victim, Kenneth Olden, 34. Olden was shot three times in the head and shoulders Monday night after two men came to his home and asked for a ride.
Cooke County, Texas, officials on Wednesday issued 'John Doe' capital murder warrants for two suspects, described as between the ages of 17 and 20. The warrants were based on witness descriptions.
The FBI also issued warrants charging both suspects with fleeing across state lines to avoid prosecution.
Items found in a stolen pickup truck in Arkansas, along with witness descriptions, convinced authorities that Monday's slayings were committed by the same two men.