Florida Keystones

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MIAMI BEACH: "All across the nation, our citizens can stand down and breathe a sigh of relief," police Chief Richard Barreto proclaimed today. "The reign of terror brought upon us by Andrew Cunanan is over." But as the saga wound down today, neither the Miami police nor the federal authorities were bearing any resemblance to Sgt. Joe Friday. The nationwide manhunt--which was briefly a womanhunt--turned up sightings in every state of the union except Alaska only to end 40 blocks from where it began. And TIME's Miami Bureau Chief Tammerlin Drummond reports that despite reported sightings of Cunanan in the vicinity of the houseboat as early as last weekend, police, in repeated sweeps, were luckless. At an afternoon press conference, FBI Special Agent Paul Philip tried to give the non-capture a positive spin. "We were trying to make it difficult for him to get away. His picture was everywhere, his name was everywhere. I think it worked. He managed to get 40 blocks in all this time. That's pretty good." Meanwhile, it sounds like that caretaker will get stiffed out of the $50,000 in reward money that had been offered up in Miami and New York. Barreto said today the caretaker did not technically lead police to Cunanan but was only reporting that he heard a gunshot in the houseboat that he was checking out. Miami police have been furiously hedging about the most famous report--that two searches of the sealed-off houseboat came up empty before Cunanan's dead, still-bleeding body was found. With no other suspects and no Cunanan trial looming, why all the secrecy? "The only reason why the police aren't giving out more information," says Drummond, "is that it would then be clear to all of the news media how much sloppiness and bumbling this investigation has contained from the beginning."