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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

FBI Releases Witnesses in Oklahoma Blast

COMBINED REPORTS


OKLAHOMA CITY -- Two drifters apprehended as possible witnesses in the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, including one who bore a passing resemblance to an elusive unnamed suspect, were released by the FBI early Wednesday.


Gary Alan Land and Robert Jacks, who had been the objects of an FBI all-points bulletin, were taken into custody at daybreak Tuesday in Carthage, Missouri, after swarms of federal and state agents surrounded their motel room.


Authorities refused to say why they were held; the law allows material witnesses to be detained for 48 hours.


Shortly after midnight, the two men were released, reclaimed Land's car and drove away, saying they were headed to California.


"We didn't do it. We're clean. We just got questioned. That's it,'' Jacks told reporters through his car window. "The FBI ain't stupid. We haven't done anything.''


Land said he and his friend passed a polygraph test.


The men said they did not know Timothy McVeigh, the only person charged in the bombing, or Terry and James Nichols, friends of McVeigh's who are being held in the investigation but haven't been charged.


An FBI spokesman in Oklahoma City, Dan Vogel, confirmed that the men had been released but refused to comment further. A law enforcement source in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity, had said federal investigators were having trouble finding grounds to hold Land and Jacks.


A driver's license photo of Land, 35, a drifter with a record of petty crimes, resembled the heavyset, square-jawed figure in the FBI sketch of an unnamed suspect, who is wanted in the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil.


Asked if Land could be the muscular, tattooed John Doe 2, FBI spokesman Dan Vogel said: "We don't know that. We have not determined whether he is or not.''


At the scene of the explosion, the search of the building resumed after rescue workers took their first night off since the April 19 explosion. The search had been halted overnight because of the instability of the wrecked building. The death toll stood at 141, including 15 children.


About 40 people are missing, but rescuers have abandoned hope of finding any more survivors.


"After 12 days, the officials on site have reluctantly concluded that the likelihood of finding living people is very, very remote so they have passed from what was a rescue mode to a recovery mode," Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating said Monday. "Unfortunately, the official view now is that there are no survivors," he said.


The change was designed to enable rescuers to use heavy equipment instead of delicately removing rubble by hand and reduce the considerable risks faced by crews in the tottering shell of the building.


Until Monday rescuers and the families of the missing had hoped that someone could have survived against all odds in air pockets under the rubble.


But despite a huge effort by search and rescue experts from around the country, no survivor has been found since the day of the blast.


Rescue officials are hoping to recover the missing bodies by Friday.


Meanwhile, investigators pursued leads in Arizona, Oklahoma and Kansas, and a federal grand jury investigating McVeigh's case heard testimony in Oklahoma City.


McVeigh and the unnamed man are the only people named as suspects in the Oklahoma City bombing itself.


The Nichols brothers and McVeigh are charged with conspiring to make and detonate bombs on the Nichols' Michigan farm.


In Washington, President Bill Clinton asked Congress for $142 million to pay to investigate the bombing, keep federal agencies in Oklahoma City operating and bolster anti-terrorism efforts. The request also includes money to tear down the federal building and establish replacement offices for hundreds of displaced workers. ()