NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Blood was found throughout 56-year-old truck driver Bruce Mendenhall's truck when Metro police questioned him during a murder investigation of a Middle Tennessee woman.
Investigators found a garbage bag that had blood inside and a pair of shoes that had similar prints to shoes found at one of the murder scenes, according to a Metro police affidavit released Friday.
Investigators said these clues along with several others led them to crack this case.
Mendenhall was apprehended at a truck stop where the body of 25-year-old Sara Nicole Hulbert was found on North First Street on June 26.
"When you get onto a particular crime scene sometimes evidence dictates what you're looking at and, in this particular case, evidence dictated to us that this was not a normal homicide," said Detective Pat Postiglione.
Mendenhall is believed to be the culprit behind six murders: two in Middle Tennessee; one in Suwanee, Ga.; one in Birmingham; and one in Lake Station, Ind., and Indianapolis.
Mendenhall was taken in police custody Thursday after they discovered evidence of the crimes in his 18-wheeler.
Investigators also noted that Mendenhall had blood on his thumb. There were also splatters of blood found inside the truck.
The vehicle was impounded, transported to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for examination.
Metro police are working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to gather more information on similar killings across the country that could go back several years.
On Friday morning, Cindy Rogers called NewsChannel 5 to talk about her sister, Belinda Cartwright, who was killed in 2001 in Valdosta, Ga. The woman was dragged beneath a big rig.
Rogers sent the station a copy of a composite sketch of the suspect in Cartwright's case.
The comparison to Mendenhall is striking. Rogers contacted Metro police and she believes Mendenhall is the perpetrator.
"To me, it's it's him," Rogers said during a telephone interview Friday. "It's him. I mean, you got to remember this is a computer-generated sketch and it's six years ago so I mean almost everything about it, something just jumped out and said 'hey, you need to look into this.'"
Metro investigators have been fielding calls about cold cases from across the country.
"He was a little different but you never thought serial killer or anything like that," said a resident Albion, Ill., where police searched Mendenhall's home for clues.
The married father of two once ran for mayor.
"When he was bowling, he'd laugh and cut up with the rest of us," said Clota Matton, owner of a bowling center in Albion. "He never did anything violent."
However, back in Nashville Mendenhall is anything but regular. He is a serial killer suspect who sources said took flesh trophies from the prostitutes he killed.
In Nashville, Hulbert's family finds relief in Mendenhall's arrest.
In addition to Hulbert's and Winters' deaths, police said Mendenhall is a suspect in Lucille Carter's death. Her body was discovered near a large trash container in Birmingham. Sherry Drinkard's naked body was found at a truck stop in Lake Station, Ind., and Deborah Ann Glover's body was found near a truck stop in Suwanee, Ga.
Police in Indianapolis also are investigating a case linked to Mendenhall.