YOUNGSVILLE — Looking dirty, wet and “worn out” from living in the wilderness to evade arrest, a homicide suspect who used bedsheets to escape a northern Pennsylvania jail has been captured, authorities said.
Michael Burham, 34, fled the Warren County jail 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 found Saturday after authorities received a tip about a suspicious-looking person, they said.
“He came out into the open and was spotted by an individual,” Lt. Col. George Bivens, the deputy commissioner of Operations for the Pennsylvania State Police, said at a news conference.
Burham has been in jail on $1 million bail and was charged with kidnapping, burglary and other counts. Authorities warned while he was missing that he was considered armed and dangerous.
About 4 p.m. Saturday, authorities received the tip. Burham encountered state troopers and attempted to hide, but authorities approached from behind and arrested him.
By 5:50 p.m., Burham — wearing jail-issued pants turned inside-out — was in custody.
Burham had taught himself survival skills and had military reserve training, according to authorities. Before his capture, law enforcement personnel had found “small stockpiles or campsites” believed to be associated with him.
Before the arrest, Bivens renewed a call for people in northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York to regularly review doorbell and surveillance camera footage, and also once again urged people to make sure vehicles, sheds, homes and anything else useful to a fugitive is secured.
Bivens said officials have not yet located a drone some people reported hearing near the jail just before the escape, although they are aware of other drones operated during that day or evening a few blocks from the jail. Officials have said they believe Burham may have been receiving aid from someone, citing the stockpiles.
More than 200 state, federal and local officers took part in the search for Burham, and up to $22,000 in reward money had been posted, Bivens said.