.YOUNGSVILLE. (AP) — Looking dirty, wet and “worn out” from living in the wilderness to evade arrest, a homicide suspect who used bed sheets to escape a northern Pennsylvania jail has been captured, authorities said.
Michael Burham, 34, fled the Warren County jail in the late evening hours of July 6 by climbing on exercise equipment, going through a window and scaling down a rope fashioned from jail bedding, authorities have said. He was found Saturday after authorities received a tip about a suspicious-looking person, they said.
“He came out into the open and was spotted by an individual,” said Lt. Col. George Bivens, the deputy commissioner of Operations for the Pennsylvania State Police, at a news conference.Burham has been in jail on $1 million bail and was charged with kidnapping, burglary and other counts.
Authorities warned while he was missing that he was considered armed and dangerous.
Around 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, authorities received the tip. Burham encountered state troopers and attempted to hide, but authorities approached from behind and arrested him.
By 5:50 p.m., Burham — wearing jail-issued pants turned inside-out — was in custody.
Burham had taught himself survival skills and had military reserve training, according to authorities. Before his capture, law enforcement personnel had found “small stockpiles or campsites” believed to be associated with him.
Before the arrest, Bivens renewed a call for people in northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York to regularly review doorbell and surveillance camera footage, and also once again urged people to make sure vehicles, sheds, homes and anything else useful to a fugitive is secured.
Bivens said officials have not yet located a drone some people reported hearing near the jail just before the escape, although they are aware of other drones operated during that day or evening a few blocks from the jail. Officials have said they believe Burham may have been receiving aid from someone, citing the stockpiles.
Authorities had kept morale high even when the search was dragging into a second week in a “vast” area of difficult terrain, Bivens said.
In September 2014 in Pennsylvania, a manhunt of more than a month and a half ensued after a gunman killed a state trooper and permanently disabled another in an ambush outside the Blooming Grove barracks.
Eric Frein, of Canadensis, also described as a self-taught survivalist, was captured after a 48-day search. He was convicted and sentenced to death, though Pennsylvania has a moratorium on executions.
More than 200 state, federal and local officers took part in the search for Burham, and up to $22,000 in reward money had been posted, Bivens said.
District Attorney Jason Schmidt, of Chautauqua County, New York, said in June that Burham was the prime suspect in the May 11 killing of Kala Hodgkin, 34, and a related arson in Jamestown, New York. Authorities also accused him of abducting an older couple in Pennsylvania while trying to evade capture before his arrest in South Carolina. New York officials said they opted to let Pennsylvania handle the initial prosecution as they probe the killing and arson.
Source: Berkshire mont