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Fugitive Wanted In Multistate Crime Spree Apprehended After Tip From Citizen

Huger, SC – A suspect accused of rape, kidnapping, and murder in two separate states was apprehended on Wednesday evening after a large-scale manhunt.

Multiple law enforcement agencies had been searching for 34-year-old Michael Charles Burham for weeks, ABC News.

“I am pleased that Burham was apprehended today,” Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis said in a press release on May 24. “The Huger community can rest easy tonight knowing they are safe.”

Sheriff Lewis said he is “exceptionally proud” of everyone involved in the search.

“Their perseverance is what led to the capture of this fugitive,” he noted. “I am also thankful to every citizen that called into dispatch with tips.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said Burham had three separate warrants out for his arrest when a Berkeley County resident called police at about 5 p.m. on May 24 to report seeing the suspect behind a shed in a rural part of the county.

Officers descended on the area of Halfway Creek Road and United Drive near Huger and deployed K9s to track the elusive fugitive, the FBI said in a press release.

Burham was ultimately apprehended without further incident, bringing the exhaustive search to an end.

“He obviously looked like he had been in the woods for some time,” Sheriff Lewis told reporters after Burham’s arrest, according to ABC News. “We gave him some water… he blurted out that, you know, he had been on the run and he wanted something to drink.”

A federal arrest warrant from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York was issued for Burham on May 22 for “the unlawful flight to avoid prosecution,” according to the FBI.

Investigators said Burham was wanted for the rape of 34-year-old Kalamae “Kala” Hodgkin when he allegedly shot her to death at her home in Jamestown, New York, on May 11, WCIV reported.

Hodgkin leaves behind three children, ages eight, 11, and 14, according to WIVB.

A short while after Hodgkin was shot, Jamestown police were called to Burham’s ex-girlfriend’s home in Jamestown for a report of an attempted break-in.

His ex-girlfriend told police Burham was the one who tried to force his way into her home, and said he set her car on fire when he was unable to get inside the house, WCIV reported.

Burham later kidnapped an elderly couple at gunpoint in Sheffield, Pennsylvania, according to police.

The couple said Burham took their vehicle and drove them to North Charleston, South Carolina, before he “released them physically unharmed,” according to the FBI.

They allegedly identified Burham as their abductor, WCIV reported.

Investigators said they found a note inside the couple’s car that the suspect had written to his father.

“I’m not sorry for what I did, however I do feel terrible about the children,” the letter read, according to WCIV.

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) said in a press release on Tuesday that deputies responded to Halfway Creek Road at approximately 11 a.m. that day after receiving a call from a concerned citizen regarding a “suspicious male” in the area.

Deputies located a man on South Hampton Road who matched the description provided by the citizen.

But when deputies began speaking with him, the suspect allegedly provided them with a fake name and took off running on foot.

“Deputies did pursue the subject, but he was able to get away,” the BCSO said. “The subject dropped a bookbag and inside were articles that confirmed Burham’s identity.”

Police begged the public for help during a press conference on Wednesday.

“We need to get this person in custody,” Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano said at the time, according to WCSC. “This guy is dangerous. This is a fugitive. He is desperate, he’s tired, he’s hungry… please do not approach him.”

“This guy is very good at evading law enforcement and we need your help,” Sheriff Graziano added. “We don’t know what your structures, your houses, your properties, look like… so if you see something out of the ordinary, we need you to call us.”

The sheriff also implored citizens to check their security cameras for any sign of the fugitive.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers combed the area by ground and air, including the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon, the FBI, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Mount Pleasant police, Charleston police, Summerville police, North Charleston police, the BCSO, and the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.

FBI Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Columbia Division Steve Jenson praised law enforcement and the community for working together to apprehend the dangerous fugitive.

“The most effective weapon against crime is cooperation,” SAC Jenson said in the agency’s press release. “This matter was resolved quickly and peacefully because of the cooperation between the community who remained alert and law enforcement who persisted in their pursuit of this fugitive.”

Sheriff Graziano said citizens submitted “countless tips and sightings” during the search.

“We all came together, and our communities are safer tonight because of it,” she said.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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