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Police Find Campsites In Forest Amid Ongoing Search For Escaped Murder Suspect Michael Burham

Warren County, PA – Law enforcement officers searching for escaped murder suspect Michael Burham said they have located small stockpiles and campsites in the forest near the jail facility he broke out of last week.

Police described the fugitive, 34-year-old Michael Burham, as a “survivalist” with military training and the know-how to stay concealed and withstand the elements, WKRN reported.

Police have been searching the forest and nearby homes since Burham escaped from the Warren County Jail on July 6.

He is accused of rape, kidnapping, and murder in three separate states.

Investigators said Burham climbed up onto a pullup exercise machine out in the jail recreation area and used it to gain access to the roof, the Erie Times-News reported.

He then allegedly used tied-up bedsheets to slide off of the roof and made his escape.

The facility is situated near the Allegheny National Forest, WKRN reported.

“Burnham is a self-taught survivalist with military experience and could be potentially holed up in a wooded area near the city,” Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens said during a press conference. “We are considering him armed and dangerous, and we are cautioning residents if they see him or believe that he may be anywhere near them that they should not attempt to approach him.”

Lt. Col. Bivens said investigators have no reason to believe Burham fled the area where the search is being conducted, WKRN reported.

A combined reward of up to $9,500 is being offered by the U.S. Marshals Service and Warren County Crime Stoppers for information leading to the accused killer’s arrest.

Burham was last seen at approximately 11:20 p.m. on July 6 wearing a blue denim jacket, Crocs, and orange and white overalls, WJET reported.

His jacket had the words “Warren County Jail” emblazoned on the back, according to The Post-Journal.

Burham was the target of a massive multistate manhunt earlier this year before he was ultimately apprehended in Huger, South Carolina, on May 24.

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 May 23 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 the following day.

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.

Burham was ultimately apprehended and extradited back to New York, WICU reported.

He was transferred to the Warren County Jail in Pennsylvania on June 19, where he was being held on a $1 million bond, according to WJET.

Burham faces 21 criminal charges in Warren County alone, The Post-Journal reported.

He also currently faces charges in both South Carolina and New York, according to WGRZ.

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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