GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- University of Florida students began returning Monday for the resumption of classes as investigators said they were searchng for new leads in the slayings of five college students.
The killings prompted an exodus of nervous students from the campus last week, and others left because of the Labor Day holiday. University officials said classes would resume Tuesday in atmosphere as close to normal as possible.
University of Florida President John Lombardi urged students to return. He said security patrols would be increased, and on-campus housing would be arranged for those who were too scared to stay off- campus alone.
'To tell you that there is no crime, to tell you that there are no fatalities that will occur ... is simply not to be realistic,' Lombardi said. 'Would I send my child back to the University of Florida? The answer is, yes, I would.'
Lombardi said only about 100 of the university's 34,000 students had notified campus officials that they would not return.
A spokesman for the Gainesville Police Department said there was no new information to report about the search for the killer or killers.
'The media has requested daily briefings from us, so we're complying, even if there is nothing new to report, which is the situation today,' said Barry Luke, director of communications for the police department.
Luke clarified a report from Sunday's briefing in which police said they have eight suspects, four of whom were described as 'primary.' Warren Virgil Tinch, a car salesman being sought by the FBI for the mutilation-murder of his former girlfriend in Ohio, was dropped from the Gainesville list.
'It's unfair to say that he is no longer a suspect,' said Luke. 'He has been dropped from the top eight, however, and there was some confusion on the part of the news media about that.'
The only suspect on the list of eight to be identified by police was Edward L. Humphrey, an 18-year-old UF freshman being held on $1 million bond on charges of beating up his grandmother.
Investigators have staked out Humphrey's room in the Hawaiian Village apartments in Gainesville, but have not secured a warrant to search it. However, officers have searched garbage dumpsters and a stream at the complex.
Luke said Monday that police would neither confirm nor deny that search warrants were being sought for Humphrey's apartment or several other locations.
There was no mention of the Gainesville slayings during Humprhrey's arraignment Friday on the assault charges.
A bond hearing was scheduled Tuesday in Melbourne for Humphrey, and his attorney planned to asked that his bond be reduced. That move seemed calculated to force police to reveal what evidence they had against Humphrey.
After a week of investigating, police said they were not close to making an arrest and were warning residents not to let their guard down.
The bodies of the five college students were discovered within a 48-hour period early last week.
The victims were Christina Powell, 17, of Jacksonville; Christina Hoyt, 18, of Gainesville; Tracey Paules, 23, of Palm Springs North; Manuel Taboada, 23, of Carol City; and Sonya Larson, 18.
Hoyt was a student at Santa Fe Community College, while the other victims attended the University of Florida.
The search for clues went nationwide last weekend as the task force investigating the slayings deployed 18 officers to nine other states. Detectives were sent to California, Oregon, New York, Montana, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Nevada to compare similarities with cases in those states and the Florida slayings, said Luke.
Another 15 detectives, technicians and crime analysts were added to the state, federal and local task force investigating the murders that occurred within a 2-mile radius of the University of Florida campus.