More than half a century after the 1970 Sterling Hall bombing at the University of Wisconsin during the Vietnam War era, the FBI unveiled age-processed images of Leo Burt, the elusive suspect often dubbed “Wisconsin’s state ghost.”
Burt was implicated immediately after the attack and remains the FBI’s last unsolved fugitive from radical anti-Vietnam War protests. On Aug. 24, 1970, a stolen van filled with fertilizer and fuel exploded outside Sterling Hall’s Army Math Research Center. The explosion, the country’s most potent until the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, killed graduate student Robert Fassnacht, injured several others, and resulted in extensive property damage. The attackers fled to Canada. While three culprits were apprehended in the 1970s, served their sentences, and resumed normal lives, Burt disappeared.
Tips about Burt’s whereabouts have come in from across the globe over the years, particularly around bombing anniversaries. Speculations regarding Burt’s fate are diverse, with some believing he’s deceased, while others compare his vanishing act to the notorious hijacker D.B. Cooper.
The FBI persists in its $150,000 reward for information culminating in Burt’s arrest. The recent photos released depict an aged Burt, aligning with the 53rd bombing anniversary. Madison attorney Lester Pines, who defended one bomber in the ’70s, remarked on the notable differences in Burt’s updated image.