Truck driver suspected of killing 6 in 4 states, police say

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A long-distance independent trucker gave statements implicating himself in six murders in four states after a Tennessee detective discovered apparent blood inside the cab of his rig, police said Thursday, July 12.

Bruce Mendenhall, 56, a husband and father of two from Albion, Ill., is facing homicide charges in the shooting death of Sara Nicole Hulbert, 25. Her body was found June 26 in the parking lot of a truck stop in Nashville, Tenn., authorities said in a statement.

According to investigators who were returning to the crime scene Thursday to conduct more interviews in Hulbert’s death, detective Sgt. Pat Postiglione saw a tractor-trailer rig on the road that matched the description of a truck sought in the investigation. Police had been searching for the truck, with its distinctive yellow cab, since it appeared on surveillance footage the night when Hulbert killed.

After the rig pulled into the TravelCenters of America and stopped, Postiglione knocked on its door and, while talking with Mendenhall, noticed what appeared to be blood on the inside of the driver’s door, police said. After Mendenhall gave the detective permission to look inside the truck, Postiglione found “some more evidence that I considered incriminating,” he said in the statement.

Mendenhall — a driver for Quality Oak Products in Noble, Ill. — was detained because he gave statements implicating himself in Hulbert’s slaying, police said. Knowing that the slaying was similar to other recent homicides in the South, Postiglione questioned Mendenhall about those as well, police said.

Mendenhall implicated himself in the death of Symantha Winters, 48, of Nashville, who was found shot to death June 6 in a trash container at a truck stop in Lebanon, Tenn., police said. He also implicated himself in a homicide in Alabama, one in Georgia and two in Indiana, the statement said; those victims were not named.

Nashville police said they are in contact with agencies in those states regarding statements from Mendenhall, who is being held without bail. Postiglione said there is a “pretty good possibility” that Mendenhall could be linked to deaths besides these six. The truck, loaded with furniture, was impounded and was being processed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.