Authorities say escaped homicide suspect may be getting desperate living in wilderness
Jul 14, 2023, 2:54 PM
YOUNGSVILLE, Pa (AP) — A homicide suspect who used bed sheets to escape from jail last week continues to evade capture, but authorities said Friday they believe he may be growing “desperate” as he tries to live with little support while apparently camping in the rough terrain of northwestern Pennsylvania woodlands.
Lt. Col. George Bivens, the deputy commissioner of Operations for the Pennsylvania State Police, reiterated during a news conference that authorities believe Michael Burham, 34, remains in the area.
Bivens showed a brief video, apparently taken by a home security camera, that showed a man walking on a residential street. Bivens said authorities believe the man was Burham but declined to provide specific details about the video, or say when or where it was taken,
Authorities have said they believe someone is or may have been helping Burham evade capture, citing the discovery of “small stockpiles or campsites” in wooded areas in the general vicinity and that it was believed at least some of those might be associated with Burham. Bivens said the stockpiles consisted of “supplies that would assist him with a prolonged stay in a wooded area.”
Bivens has said Burham taught himself survival skills and had military reserve training, but he said Friday the inmate is likely facing many difficulties as he tries to remain free.
“He’s trying to live out there with very little support, and that’s hard to do for a long time,” Bivens said. “He needs to surrender. He needs to bring this to an end.”
Burham fled the Warren County jail in northwestern Pennsylvania 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 being held on $1 million bail and was charged with kidnapping, burglary and other counts.
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. Warren city police said Burham was considered “very dangerous.”
Officials in those states agreed to let Pennsylvania handle the initial prosecution, giving New York authorities more time to investigate the murder and arson cases.