Inmate with ‘survival skills’ who escaped from Pennsylvania jail is in custody after chase


The manhunt for the escaped Pennsylvania inmate who is suspected of several crimes, including the murder of a New York woman, ended Saturday night, state police said.

Michael Charles Burham, 34, was taken into custody at 5:50 p.m. Saturday in Warren County, Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said.

Bivens said the fugitive became trapped in a perimeter of law enforcement officers closing in on him in a wood about 5 miles north of the town of Warren.

“He ran into perimeter cops there, tried to lie down and hide, and law enforcement officers came up from behind” and came up behind him, Bivens said.

Bloodhounds and other police tracking dogs were used in the final search for Burham. «He was being tracked and pushed by a line of tactical members,» Bivens said.

He was held at gunpoint, he said.

Burham escaped from the Warren County Jail on July 7 by climbing the metal roof racks of the jail yard. He then climbed down using bound sheets, authorities said.

Staff realized he was missing within minutes, and authorities began an eight-day search. manhunt involving 15 federal and state agencies.

Bivens warned area residents that it is «absolutely likely» Burham is armed and that no one should go near him if they see him. He said Saturday that he was not armed when he was captured.

«In the past he has successfully searched for and obtained firearms while on the run,» Bivens said during a news conference Monday. «I hope he tried the same thing.»

Warren County spokeswoman Cecile Stelter said Burham is known to have «survival skills» and lives comfortably in wooded areas.

Authorities said Saturday they believe the fugitive remained in the Warren area. Bivens said police conducted at least one search in the region that was promising but ultimately inconclusive.

Burham was being held in the county on kidnapping and other related charges. He is accused of kidnapping a Warren County couple while he was on the run from authorities in New York, where he is a suspect in the May 11 murder of Kala Hodgkin.

Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt said last month that there are currently no state charges against Burhman in the murder case.

He was charged with fleeing to avoid prosecution in the US District Court for the Western District of New York in May. The case was dismissed without prejudice on June 16, according to court records.

A federal criminal complaint alleges that Hodgkin was found shot to death in her home. At the time of the murder, there was an active warrant accusing Burham of raping the woman, according to the complaint.

As police were on their way to Hodgkin’s home, they received a separate call that Burham had allegedly attempted to break into a former girlfriend’s home and then proceeded to set her car on fire, the complaint says.

Burham went on the run, leading authorities on a multi-state manhunt before his capture on May 24 in South Carolina, the Jamestown Police Department in New York said.

The complaint said Burham kidnapped a couple at gunpoint from their Sheffield, Pennsylvania, home while on the run. They were found alive in a cemetery in North Charleston, South Carolina.

There was a note in her vehicle allegedly written by Burham telling her father she was «safe for now» and apologizing «for all the trouble I caused the family,» the complaint says.

This is a developing history. Please check for updates.

Minyvonne Burke, julianne mcshane, Yasmeen Persaud and denis romero contributed.

You may also like...