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Police in the US state of Maine have said they will begin searching a river in the search for Robert Card who is accused of murdering 18 people in what has become this year’s most deadly US mass shooting.

But one of the lead officers has said: “We’re not saying the suspect is in the water”.

In addition, a suspected suicide note has been found at the home of Mr Card.

Mr Card has eluded capture for two days since the massacres on Wednesday. Police say they are investigating 530 tips and leads.

The murders on Wednesday evening occurred across two venues in the small city of Lewiston, north of Maine’s largest city of Portland.

The city remains in lockdown.

Seven people were found dead at the Just In Time bowling alley (formerly known as Sparetime Recreation), six men and one woman who all died of gunshot wounds.

Shortly after another shooting was reported at Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant. The bar was holding a sporting event organised by American Deaf Cornhole.

So far 16 of the victims have been revealed either by police or families. They range in age from 14-year-old Aaron Young, who died alongside his father Bill at the bowling alley, and 76-year-old Bob Violette who was a children’s bowling instructor.

Michael Deslauriers II and Jason Walker reportedly died while trying to charge Mr Card.

Another victim, Arthur Strout, has five children.

Several members of the deaf community were killed at the bar. Mr Card himself wore a hearing aid.

A family member has said Mr Card had a mental health episode where he believed he could hear people insulting him.

Police have said they don’t believe the locations where the killings took place were randomly chosen and that Mr Card had connections to both. One of the venues may have been connected to his ex-girlfriend.

A long time army reservist, Mr Card, 40, has so far successfully evade capture. Police say a mobile phone that Mr Card carried, that could have led officers to him, was found discarded.

The US ABC network reported that police sources said Mr Card appeared to have “interacted with conspiratorial content” online.

This included topic on a financial crisis, US President Joe Biden, gun rights and LGBT issue. But it’s not know if this played a role in the shooting.

At a press conference on Friday, US time, Public Health and Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck said a stretch of the Androscoggin River in the town of Lisbon, near Lewiston, would be searched by divers.

Mr Card’s card was found at a boat ramp next to the river.

“We will be checking for evidence … checking for potential bodies,” Mr Sauschuck said.

“I’m not telling we’re saying the suspect is in the water,” he added.

Mr Sauschuck also confirmed a note was found at an address reportedly written by Mr Card.

He said he would not be discussing it.

However ABC News has said it was suicide note addressed to Mr Card’s son. However, it did not give a reason for the killings.

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By Rahul

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