The portrait of the family drawn by neighbors was one of clannish, even secretive, people who kept to themselves but had a number of visitors--many of whom took up at least temporary residence there.
Lecia Todd, 25, who lives across the street with her parents, said she had been inside the house with her cousin, who was looking for an apartment. They found about a dozen people living on one floor.
She said the Ayyads showed little interest in getting to know their neighbors. "They kept to themselves," Todd said. "Even when I waved to them, I didn't get a wave back."
Other neighbors had summoned the police and a health inspector to vent complaints that the house was not very clean and rats had been seen. After those warnings, the condition of the house improved.
"They were not very friendly. They seemed to want to stay apart," said Jim Emma, a pilot who lives next door. "These people stood out. This whole house stood out for a long time."
Emma noted that there had been considerable traffic to Ayyad's home recently, and that another neighbor had told FBI agents of seeing a yellow Ryder truck in front of the house two weeks ago, shortly before the New York blast.
"That got the FBI's attention," he said.
On Wednesday, a red car was parked in the Ayyad driveway. Noting that the car was similar to the one that delivered Salameh to the Ryder rental lot in Jersey City, investigators said the red Oldsmobile turned out to provide one more link between the two men: When Ayyad rented it from National Car Rental 10 days before the bombing, he listed Salameh as the authorized second driver.
At AlliedSignal, where Ayyad was immediately suspended without pay, "Everyone who knew him and worked with him was shocked," said spokesman Mark Greenberg.
Times staff writers Elizabeth Shogren, John Goldman, Victor Zonana, Robert Jackson and Sara Fritz also contributed to this story.)