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Homicide suspect captured after dayslong manhunt in South Carolina

A homicide suspect from New York was captured after a dayslong manhunt centered on the Francis Marion National Forest in South Carolina.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (CN) — A 34-year-old homicide suspect from New York was captured Wednesday evening after a dayslong manhunt in the swampy forests of the Lowcountry.

Michael Burham was captured at about 5:15 p.m. near the intersection of United Drive and Halfway Creek Road in the small community of Huger, about 30 miles northeast of Charleston, authorities reported on social media.

Burham, 34, is suspected of killing Kala M. Hodgkin, a 34-year-old woman found dead early May 11 at a home in Jamestown, New York. Police officials there said a vehicle was found torched after Hodgkin’s death and Burham was missing.

The search for Burham in South Carolina began after a frightened Pennsylvania couple sought help in North Charleston.

A 89-year-old man and his 68-year-old wife told police officers Sunday a man armed with a revolver kidnapped them the day before from their home in Sheffield, Pennsylvania, about 35 miles south of Jamestown. Police located their vehicle parked outside a nearby strip mall. Inside the vehicle was Burham’s military dog tag, according to a police report.

An FBI spokesman confirmed Wednesday that Burham has military experience but did not know if the suspect remained on active duty.

Federal, state and local authorities swarmed the area searching for Burham, who stands 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs 150 pounds. The couple said he was wearing hiking boots and a camouflage raincoat and hoodie.

On Tuesday morning, Berkeley County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched for a “suspicious person” riding a bicycle on a remote road in Francis Marion National Park, a 250,000-acre boggy wilderness area that once served as a hideout for bootleggers during the Prohibition Era.

Deputies questioned the man and determined it was Burham, but he fled into the woods, Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

“We had a brief foot pursuit with him in the woods here at the Francis Marion National Forest,” Lewis said. “At one point, we did deploy a Taser. He did escape from the immediate area.”

Burham was spotted again riding a Beach Cruiser bicycle Tuesday afternoon, but he fled before authorities could find him.

The FBI announced at a press conference Wednesday it was offering a $10,000 reward for information that led to Burham’s capture.

Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano said at a press conference held shortly before Burham's capture that the suspect was “desperate” and “dangerous.”

“This guy is very good at evading law enforcement, and we need your help,” she added.

Burham is also wanted on suspicion of kidnapping, arson and sexual assault.

Categories:Criminal, Government, Regional

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