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What appeared to be a bloody handprint found in a Dartmouth College dormitory turned out not to be related to the murders of two popular professors, New Hampshire’s top prosecutor said Tuesday. A lengthy news conference by New Hampshire Attorney General Philip McLaughlin otherwise did little to dispel the shroud of mystery surrounding the slaying of Susanne and Half Zantop, however. The two were found dead Saturday evening by a dinner guest arriving at their secluded Hanover, N.H., off-campus home. McLaughlin said he could not rule out the possibility the slayings were random and said an arrest is not imminent. Pressed repeatedly on why there isn’t more security in town or stronger warnings to the community, McLaughlin said: “I’m not about to tell them that public safety is not at risk.” He said nothing is being spared in the investigation, however. Monday, police descended on a basement lounge and kitchen of Massachusetts Hall, a Dartmouth dormitory. Martin Redman, dean of residence life, said police were summoned after someone found what appeared to be a bloody handprint on the arm of a chair in the kitchen. McLaughlin did not say Tuesday whether the substance was blood or not, only that it was irrelevant to the investigation. Described as warm and generous people who entertained frequently, the Zantops had taught at Dartmouth for years. Their murders stunned the college, which has about 5,600 students, and Hanover, population about 9,600. Half Zantop, 62, and Susanne Zantop, 55, both born in Germany, were naturalized U.S. citizens. He taught Earth Sciences; she was head of the German Studies Department and taught courses in comparative literature and women’s studies. Friends said the Zantops, who had two grown daughters, frequently had guests in their home. “The European tradition is more open than the American; it could have been their downfall,” said Wanda Bachmann, an administrator in the comparative literature program. In addition to having many overnight guests, one friend said the Zantops had an apartment on the side of their house. A neighbor disputed that account, however, and McLaughlin said investigators do not believe anyone else had been living at the house. The last homicide in Hanover was the ax-murder of two graduate students in 1991. Police said those killings were the first in more than 40 years. Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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