NEW YORK - Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is most likely hiding out in a walled compound in Parachinar, a Pakistani border town near the Paki-Afghan border, U.S. researchers theorize. The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that a team of scientists led by geographer Thomas Gillespie of the University of California at Los Angeles used analytical tools that have been successful in locating urban criminals and endangered species to help say where Osama bin Laden might be hiding. "He may be sitting there right now," UCLA biogeographer Thomas Gillespie, who led the study published online Tuesday in the MIT International Review, an interdisciplinary journal of international affairs, was quoted as saying. Gillespie said he and his students contacted the FBI's local field office -- walking distance from the Westwood campus -- before publishing their paper, but they haven't heard back. "I've never really believed the sitting-in-a-cave theory. That's the last place you would want to be bottled up," Gillespie said. The newspaper reported that the study generated hiding-place location probabilities. It starts with "distance decay theory," which holds that the odds are greater that the person will be found close to where he or she was last seen. "The combination of physical terrain, socio-cultural gravitational factors and the physical characteristic of structures are all important factors in developing an area limitation for terror suspects," said John Goolgasian of the federal National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in Bethesda, Maryland. Gillespie and his students started with a satellite map centered on Osama bin Laden's last known location, in Tora Bora, in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistani border. The group eliminated areas in Afghanistan because they were under the control of U.S. forces at the time of Bin Laden's disappearance. Then the group evaluated the cities and towns in the remaining territory and calculated the likelihood that Bin Laden would have relocated to them. They concluded that he must have trekked nearly 2 miles over mountainous terrain to the Pakistani tribal area of Kurram and settled in Parachinar, the largest city in the region, with a population of half a million. The class zeroed in further by searching satellite images for buildings with walls at least 10 feet high (for safety), at least three rooms (to house bin Laden's bodyguards) and electricity (to power his kidney dialysis machine), among other features.