MIAMI BEACH — He is smart, resourceful, bold, sophisticated, egotistical, and he has eluded a manhunt involving hundreds of FBI agents and other law enforcement personnel, leaving gay communities from New York to San Francisco terrified that a psychopathic killer may be stalking them.
Andrew Phillip Cunanan, 27, the Catholic altar boy and prep-school graduate turned "gigolo" and "party boy" and now suspected in five murders in four states, has defied the easy categorizations that experts use to describe multiple-murder suspects as either serial or spree.
Instead, the individual who emerges from law enforcement documents and interviews with friends and authorities has led some to worry that he is a new, hybrid kind of killer, slaying sometimes for revenge or jealousy, sometimes for theft, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly and sadistically, and sometimes for the sheer thrill and notoriety of assassinating an international celebrity in a public place.
And along the way he has seemingly taunted police by leaving "calling cards" at the murder scenes and then hiding in plain sight. He is also known to be following the increasing media coverage.
"His ego is not allowing him [to stop killing]," said Bill Hagmire, chief of the FBI's child-abduction and serial-killer unit. "He seems to have a procedure with his victim selection and what some might call a signature."
On Friday, the FBI escalated its efforts to find Cunanan, activating a central command facility in Washington used during another top-priority case of domestic horror: the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
Beginnings of a National Chase
Twice daily, agents in five cities--Minneapolis, Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia and San Diego--will confer by conference call to assess progress in finding the young man with the warm brown eyes, the smooth, glib manner and the well-groomed appearance. Plans are to continue the procedure until Cunanan is run to ground.
What has become a national pursuit with international overtones, since the murder here Tuesday of famed fashion designer Gianni Versace, began on April 29 in Minneapolis as a routine request.
Co-workers of architect David Madson, 33, asked the manager of the Harmony Lofts Apartments in the city's warehouse district--a once-grimy industrial spot now gentrified with galleries, cafes and theaters--to check on Madson. Their cheerful, punctual colleague had failed to show up for work for two days.
The manager entered Madson's apartment and was shocked to find a fully clothed corpse in a large, blood-soaked Oriental rug. He retreated quickly and called police.
Police found a claw hammer near the body. Blood was everywhere, some of it smeared as if someone had been attempting to wipe it away. A nylon gym bag was found with a name tag for Andrew Cunanan of San Diego. Inside the bag was an empty gun holster.
Identification on the body indicated it was not Madson but Jeffrey Trail, 28, a propane company engineer, Naval Academy graduate and Persian Gulf War veteran.
Second Victim Was First Suspect
Initially, police suspected Madson in Trail's death. Suspicion deepened when neighbors reported seeing Madson at the apartment building and walking his beloved Dalmatian even after the time that medical authorities had determined was the likely time of Trail's murder.
"Here's a professional who doesn't show up for work, who doesn't call anybody, and yet he's moving about of his own free will in the apartment for a few days," said Minneapolis Police Sgt. Bob Ticich. "It didn't appear that he was coerced."
A neighbor heard shouting and scuffling in the apartment the night of April 27 but did not call police. Madson's friends told police that he had been expecting a weekend visit from a former lover from California--Cunanan.
"Cunanan told people that Madson was the love of his life," said San Diego Police Lt. Jim Collins. "Madson felt differently."
Cunanan arrived April 25 on a one-way plane ticket. The bartender at the trendy Caffe Solo where Madson was a regular recalled that Madson and Cunanan had come for drinks on April 26, seemingly happy and relaxed.
Cunanan had told friends in San Diego at a farewell dinner on April 24 that he was moving to San Francisco but that he first planned to visit Madson and Trail.
Cunanan and Trail had met in San Diego when the latter was stationed at the amphibious-warfare base in Coronado. Cunanan, the son of a retired Navy officer, liked to frequent gay bars where military officers congregate, and he sometimes introduced himself as Cmdr. Andy Cummings.
Any past heartaches between Cunanan and Madson seemed forgotten that night. Cunanan sat on Madson's lap at Caffe Solo. The next night they went dancing at the Gay '90s Bar.
At Trail's apartment, police found a message from Cunanan on the answering machine. Please come over to David's apartment, please try to come over, please let us know if you can't come.