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UPDATE: Target of manhunt, who was found hanged Saturday, was MU nurse

Monday, May 12, 2014 | 8:32 p.m. CDT; updated 12:02 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 13, 2014

UPDATE: This story was updated at noon Tuesday to include a statement from Zane Black's wife.

COLUMBIA — The man who killed himself after a weekend manhunt and who police suspect committed a series of violent break-ins and sex-related crimes was a staff nurse at University Hospital and a 2013 graduate of MU's Sinclair School of Nursing.

The body of Zane S. Black, 36, was discovered by MU students in a hallway at the Trowbridge Livestock Center on Saturday, MU Police spokesman Capt. Brian Weimer said in a news release Sunday.

On Tuesday, Black's wife, Brandee Black, sent this statement to the Missourian:

"Zane was such a loving, caring husband and such a generous member of the Columbia and Mizzou community. I am still in shock and find it so hard to believe that he is being connected to these crimes. I am working with the police to help them, because I do want peace for the victims. His happy, self-less spirit is my memory of my husband, and he will be so dearly missed by me."

Black's body was found hours after he eluded law enforcement during a four-hour manhunt Friday night in the woods northeast of the 3100 block of Rock Quarry Road. Black allegedly ran from police who tried to approach him after receiving a call about a suspicious person in the area. Black had been spotted near The Grove, a student apartment complex on Rock Quarry Road.

The Columbia Police Department reported Black missing on Thursday, Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Paul Reisch said. On Friday, someone began posting missing-person fliers around campus with photos of Black, saying he was in danger. The flier listed the telephone number of his wife, Brandee Black.

Police called Black earlier Friday after a woman said Black watched her through a window of her home on Bluff Boulevard while she undressed on May 1. They told Black they wanted to talk to him about that incident and others in the area.

Black also lived on Bluff Boulevard. Records at the Boone County recorder of deeds' office indicate Zane and Brandee Black bought the home in 2010.

Zane Black was suspected in a series of six break-ins or attempted break-ins, as well as sex-related crimes, that occurred from May 1 through May 9. Four of those incidents occurred in the 3100 block of East Stadium Boulevard, which matches the address of The Domain apartment complex.

Police said the crimes, as well as the suspect descriptions, also were similar to a spate of nine incidents that occurred in the East Campus area from June through November 2013.

Black's Facebook page indicates he graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2001, and he later worked at fire departments in Charlotte, N.C., and Mentor, Ohio. Representatives of the Charlotte and Mentor police departments said they were unaware of any contact with the Columbia Police Department about Black.

Zane and Brandee Black attended Unitarian Universalist Church for a time in 2011 and 2012, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon said, but they had not been affiliated with the church since.

"Our prayers are with everyone affected by this tragedy," Gordon said.

Brad Johnson, spokesman for the Sinclair School of Nursing at MU, said Black graduated in 2013 and has had no further involvement with the school.

Black worked as a staff nurse in the operating room at University Hospital.

(The Missourian has redacted the private telephone number from the above flier.)

Missourian reporters Joey Fening, Cecilia Meis, Wendy Pennington and Daniel Roe contributed to this story.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.


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