Home News Escaped ‘Survivalist’ Murder Suspect, Michael Burham, Is Caught

Escaped ‘Survivalist’ Murder Suspect, Michael Burham, Is Caught

Escaped ‘Survivalist’ Murder Suspect, Michael Burham, Is Caught

The manhunt for a murder suspect who escaped from a Pennsylvania jail on July 6 by tying bedsheets together to climb down from a roof ended on Saturday when the suspect was captured by the police, the authorities said.

The suspect, Michael Burham, 34, who escaped from the Warren County Jail in Pennsylvania, was captured on Saturday afternoon in Warren County after a tip from a man whose dog had been barking at a person claiming to be “camping” near their property, Lt. Col. George Bivens of the Pennsylvania State Police said at a news conference.

The man recognized the odd camper as Mr. Burham and contacted the authorities, who later tracked Mr. Burham through the woods with the help of a bloodhound, established a perimeter of troopers and took him into custody at gunpoint by 5:50 p.m., the colonel said.

When troopers and other officials encountered Mr. Burham in the woods, Colonel Bivens said, they found him in a “worn-out” state, with his clothes dirty and wet.

He was still wearing his prison pants, only turned inside out, and he was not armed, the colonel added.

The police have described Mr. Burham as a self-taught survivalist with military training. They also said that they found camp sites and stockpiles of supplies that he might have used, including ammunition and maps that he used to identify stash spots.

Mr. Burham’s ability to avoid detection had prompted concerns in the city of Warren, about 20 miles south of Jamestown, N.Y., where the authorities believed he might have been hiding in the nearby steep, rugged wilderness.

Warren borders the Allegheny National Forest, which covers more than half a million acres of rural Pennsylvania.

At the news conference, Colonel Bivens thanked Warren residents for dealing with a nervous situation and remaining gracious to the more than 200 law enforcement officers who had swarmed the area and surrounding region.

The colonel said that Mr. Burham would be arraigned on an escape charge, but additional charges and the location for his arraignment would be determined later.

Officials are still investigating whether Mr. Burham had help during his escape.

At the time of his escape, Mr. Burham, who had been in jail since May, was being held in lieu of $1 million bail on kidnapping, burglary and related charges, according to the Pennsylvania State Police, who said he was also a suspect in a homicide investigation.

The authorities said Mr. Burham had climbed on top of exercise equipment and then out a metal gated roof. Then, they said, he used bedsheets he had tied together to climb down and get away.

Mr. Burham had last been seen wearing a denim jacket, an orange-striped prison jumpsuit and orange Crocs.

In May, the F.B.I. arrested Mr. Burham in South Carolina after a separate dayslong manhunt for what it described as a “spree of alleged crimes,” including a sexual assault in Jamestown, and the kidnapping of an older couple in Pennsylvania.

The couple told the authorities that Mr. Burham had kidnapped them from their home, drove them in their own vehicle to South Carolina, then released them without injury. The authorities credited an observant citizen who spotted Mr. Burham and called 911, leading to his arrest at the time.

Colonel Bivens said at a previous news conference that as a survivalist, Mr. Burham “tried to be ready, if you will, to spend time in the woods.”

He said on Saturday that the primary mistake Mr. Burham made was that he “came out in the open and was spotted by an individual.”

“That’s been our strategy all along, is to push him hard, have him make a mistake,” the colonel said. “He finally did.”

Orlando Mayorquin contributed reporting.


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