Columbia police: investigation into Zane Black continues

Columbia police: investigation into Zane Black continues

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Columbia police said Wednesday they are still investigating a string of campus area crimes targeting college-age women involving sexual assaults and burglaries in the last year.

36-year-old Zane Black, the suspect in a nearly four hour manhunt in Columbia Friday and who was found dead of an apparent suicide on campus Saturday is being looked at as a possible suspect in those crimes.

But police say they aren't calling him a suspect in all of the cases as of now.

"We haven't called him a suspect in all these because we haven't tied all these together," said Lieutenant Hughes with the Columbia Police Department.

However, Black was identified by a victim in one of the more than 20 cases.

"In the beginning of May, there was an invasion of privacy that occurred in the Bluff Drive area, and he was identified in that one and that's our starting point as far as how we're going to back track and go from there," Hughes said.

Bluff Drive is the street where Black lived. Neighbors in the area told ABC 17 News they were shocked to learn that Black could have been involved in the area crimes.

Hughes said every incident is being looked at and investigated thoroughly to find out if they were all committed by the same person and who that person is.

"Any type of evidence that we have up to this point will be sent up to the lab and there will be a thorough investigation done by the lab as well," he said.

Hughes said there are still a lot of loose ends to tie up before the investigation is even close to being closed.

"If Zane Black is our suspect in this, we need to do everything we can to shore that up," he said.

Until the suspect is confirmed or caught, Hughes has a warning for everyone.

"Our biggest fear right now is that everyone will let their guard down and then something else might occur," he said. "You have to lock your doors, you have to be safe, you have to know what your surroundings are, you have to know who's around you."

Residents in the area where the crimes have been happening told ABC 17 News they fear the possibility that the bad guy could still be out there.

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