COTTAGE GROVE, Wis. (AP) _ A paroled murderer being sought for questioning in a sexual assault and abduction apparently committed suicide after being cornered by police, authorities said.

Virnell Hunt, 42, was found dead in a ravine Wednesday night, about three hours after being surrounded by police. Police diverted traffic and evacuated people from homes in the wooded area southeast of Madison.

Authorities said Hunt died of a chest wound from a .270 caliber rifle.

Hunt had been sentenced to life in prison in 1970 after being convicted of murder in the death of a Madison woman. He was paroled last year.

Police said Hunt probably killed himself soon after being chased to the spot by a Dane County deputy who spotted a stolen car driven by Hunt.

''In a situation like that you don't barge in and try to find a guy with a .270 caliber deer rifle,'' said Madison police Lt. Mike Plumer.

Hunt was being sought by police in connection with a knife-attack Monday on Hunt's former girlfriend, and with the abduction and sexual assault of a Burke woman Tuesday.

The former girlfriend was not seriously injured, and the second woman was released hours after Hunt kidnapped her from her home, police said.