A 34-year-old homicide suspectfrom a northwestern Pennsylvania jail earlier this month has been caught after he was discovered by a homeowner in his backyard, officials said.
Michael Charles Burham, who escaped from the Warren County Jail on July 6, was captured Saturday evening in Warren County, Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said in an evening news conference.
According to Bivens, just before 4 p.m. Eastern time, a homeowner in Conewango Township called authorities to report that he had “encountered Burham” camping in his backyard after his dog began barking, and he and his wife went to investigate.
“They went out to check on why the dog was barking, went to the rear of their property, they encountered Burham,” Bivens said. “I’m told that a conversation occurred, brief conversation, asking what was he doing there. He said something about camping. And the owner of the property recognized him, got his wife back into, they were in a golf cart…drove away from there so he could immediately contact us as Burham fled into the woods.”
A search ensued involving a “significant number of personnel on the ground,” along “aviation assets” and K9s, Bivens said.
Burham was “tracked through the woods” and captured by multiple officers — including U.S. Marshals, U.S. Border Patrol agents and state police — a little before 6 p.m., about two hours after he was spotted, according to Bivens.
Bivens said that Burham would not be returned to the Warren County Jail.
At the time of his escape, Burham was being held on arson and burglary charges, and is a suspect in a homicide investigation, police said. He was also “associated” with the carjacking and kidnapping of a local couple that occurred in May.
Warren County spokesperson Cecile Stelter told reporters the day after his escape that Burham “elevated himself” onto “a piece of exercise equipment,” and then used “bedsheets that he tied together” to climb down from the roof and escape.
Bivens had previously described Burham as a “self-taught survivalist with military experience.”
Warren is located about 10 miles south of the New York state line, and about 20 miles south of Jamestown, New York.
Local, state and federal agencies are involved in the manhunt, including the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Border Patrol and the Jamestown Police Department.