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Michael Burham manhunt: Pennsylvania police capture escaped prison inmate

Escaped inmate Michael Burham captured
Escaped inmate Michael Burham captured 02:16

(CNN/AP) — A homicide suspect who used bed sheets to escape from a northwestern Pennsylvania jail earlier this month has been captured. 

Michael Burham, 34, was captured Saturday without incident in a wooded area near Warren after more than a week on the run, officials said.

A Warren County official told CNN that they "are preparing an isolation cell at Warren County Jail" for the escapee but don't intend to keep him past Sunday. It is unclear where Burham will be transferred to after that.

His capture happened after Pennsylvania State Police got a call to their tip line Saturday from residents reporting "a suspicious individual" before 4 p.m. ET in Warren County's Conewango Township, Lt. Col. George Bivens said during a Saturday news conference.

A married couple went outside to check on their dog after hearing the animal barking near the back of their property, Bivens said. They rode over in a golf cart, found Burham and asked what he was doing there, Bivens said.

Burham, who was dirty and wearing his prison pants inside out, told the couple he was camping, Bivens said.

"The owner of the property recognized him, got his wife back into the golf cart and drove away from there so that he could immediately contact us as Burham fled into the woods," Bivens said.

Law enforcement, using police dogs, tracked him through the woods. Burham was taken into custody shortly before 6 p.m., authorities said.

Footage from law enforcement shows the moments after Burham was captured. The inmate, who looked disheveled and was wearing a light-colored T-shirt and pants, had his hands behind his back and was flanked by nearly a dozen officers in camouflaged gear on a road in a wooded area.

Bivens described Burham's appearance at the time of his capture as looking "tired and worn out" as well as dirty and wet.

Bivens described the inmate's capture as "a great relief."

"All of us were always concerned that we would end up with a citizen harmed in some way, or even one of the officers harmed," he said. "You're always worried about things like that, so to not have that play out, it's a good day."

Burham 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 being held on $1 million bail and was charged with kidnapping, burglary and other counts. 

Bivens previously said investigators believed Burham, who taught himself survival skills and had military reserve training, was in the area, and they found "small stockpiles or campsites" and believed some were associated with him.

More than 200 state, federal and local officers took part in the search for Burham, and up to $22,000 in reward money was posted, officials said.

District Attorney Jason Schmidt, of Chautauqua County, New York, said in June that Burham was the prime suspect in the May 11 killing of Kala Hodgkin, 34, and a related arson in Jamestown, New York. Authorities also accused him of abducting an older couple in Pennsylvania while trying to evade capture before his arrest in South Carolina. New York officials said they opted to let Pennsylvania handle the initial prosecution as they probe the killing and arson.

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