LONG KEY -- Paul Michael Merhige, accused of killing four relatives on Thanksgiving Day in Palm Beach County, was tapping the keyboard of a computer in a Keys motel room late Saturday when police officers burst through the door and took him into custody, authorities said.
His arrest late Saturday night marked the end of an intense 38-day manhunt by Palm Beach County and federal authorities who got a tip from a Keys motel owner who had been watching a preview of an upcoming story about the murders on the television show America's Most Wanted.
The tipster, Melinda Stewart, told authorities that she was pretty sure that a man matching Merhige's description had checked into the Edgewater Lodge on December 2.
The motel is located in an isolated stretch of U.S. at Mile Marker 65.5 on Long Key. Stewart said he had been driving a blue Toyota Camry -- the same vehicle police said Merhige had driven the night of the murders -- and gave authorities a license tag number.
Acting on the tip, the U.S. Marshals Service ran the tag number and quickly discovered that car was previously registered to one of Merhige's previous vehicles _ a 1991 Lexus that he owned in 2006.
Armed with this information, Deputy U.S. Marshals knew this was a good tip,'' said U.S. Marshals Service Deputy Barry Golden in a statement.
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