(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — A nearly two-week long manhunt for a fugitive wanted out of Jamestown, New York and Warren, Pennsylvania ended Wednesday afternoon in South Carolina and the FBI has released more details on his capture.
Michael Burham, 34, was arrested Wednesday in South Carolina near the Berkeley-Charleston county line after a multi-day manhunt in that area, and a nearly two-week manhunt in New York and Pennsylvania. A Berkeley County, South Carolina couple called 911 after spotting Burham behind their home around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
FBI Buffalo reports responding law enforcement agencies used K-9s to track him, leading to an arrest at 5:17 p.m. Wednesday.
This all began on May 11 when Jamestown Police found Kala Hodgkin, of Jamestown, New York, with a fatal gunshot wound, according to the criminal complaint.
Shortly after, Jamestown Police were dispatched to a domestic incident where a woman reportedly told police Burham allegedly tried to break into her home and set fire to her vehicle. The moments were recorded on a doorbell camera at the home.
On May 20, Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) were contacted about a missing elderly couple. On May 21, the South Carolina Highway Patrol contacted PSP to tell them they had safely located the victims in a cemetery in North Charleston, South Carolina.
The couple told police they were kidnapped at gunpoint from their home in Sheffield, Pa.
In the victims’ car, which was located nearby, a note to Burham’s father was found and police allege the note appears to have been written by Burham.
The FBI reports a federal arrest warrant from the United States District Court, for the Western District of New York, was issued for Burham on May 22 after he was charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Burham was reportedly sighted multiple times in the North Charleston area. A Berkeley County sheriff’s deputy talked with him on May 23 and he got away on foot, before being apprehended on May 24.
A $10,000 reward for his capture was offered by the FBI. And a $2,500 reward was offered by Crime Stoppers of Western New York.
“Every single law enforcement team, from Buffalo to South Carolina, was determined and committed to finding this dangerous man,” said Matthew Miraglia, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Buffalo Field Office. “Burham had evaded law enforcement long enough. I am thankful no one was injured and grateful to all the law enforcement agencies that came together and of course, the community members who provided tips along the way. We all came together. Our communities are safer tonight because of those efforts.”
Nexstar station WCBD reported Burham was not in great shape upon his capture after moving through sections of the Francis Marion National Forest for days. “You could tell he had been in the elements for some time,” Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis told WCBD.
Burham was wanted on warrants for homicide, arson, rape, criminal mischief, criminal contempt, endangering the welfare of a child, unlawful imprisonment, and other charges.
He will be extradited to Jamestown, New York to face his charges.
This arrest is the result of an investigation by the FBI Buffalo Field Office, Jamestown Police Department, Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, Dunkirk Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, FBI Pittsburgh, FBI Columbia, and all the agencies that assisted with the arrest in Charleston, South Carolina, including: SLED, US Marshals, SC PPP, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, SC DNR, North Charleston Police Department, Summerville Police Department, City of Charleston Police Department and Mount Pleasant Police Department. Citizens that called in tips are also being credited with helping law enforcement catch Burham.