NAIROBI, Kenya — An international arrest warrant has been issued for a U.S. wildlife researcher in the murder of gorilla expert Dian Fossey, found hacked to death last year at her remote mountain camp, a Rwandan government publication said today.
Actualites Nationales, a daily French-language newsletter published by the Rwandan Ministry of Information, identified the suspect as Wayne Richard McGuire of Hoboken, N.J.
McGuire, 34, was a research assistant for Fossey in her study of the rare mountain gorillas that live on the slopes of Mt. Visoke, a 12,175-foot dormant volcano in Rwanda.
Suspected in Murder
The newsletter said the Rwandan government has issued an international warrant for McGuire's arrest and that he was "suspected of being implicated in the murder."
The publication said five Rwandans, whom it did not identify, were also suspects.
The newsletter said McGuire left the central African country July 27 but did not say where he went.
Jan de Wilde, public affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, the Rwanda capital, said the article was the first indication received by the embassy that McGuire was suspected in Fossey's killing.
Fossey, 53, originally from California, was found slain last Dec. 27.
She spent 18 years befriending, studying and protecting the gorillas and was credited with habituating them to the presence of humans.
McGuire was the only foreigner at Fossey's Karisoke Research Center when she was found dead in the bedroom of her two-room corrugated tin cabin, her face repeatedly slashed by a machete.
A pistol and ammunition cartridge were found near her right hand. The cabin was ransacked, but only Fossey's passport was missing.
She was buried according to her wishes in the gorilla cemetery she built next to her cabin.
McGuire stayed on to run the camp and continue his study of male gorillas' parental behavior for a doctoral thesis at the University of Oklahoma at Norman.
"I'd chain myself to a tree if they tried to take me out of here. Things are back to normal, or will be soon," he told visitors to the camp soon after the slaying.