A helicopter circled the City of Warren on Sunday in the search for Michael Burham.

Authorities Find Stockpiles, Campsites That May Be Related to Burham; Believe He May be Receiving Aid

July 9, 2023

YOUNGSVILLE, Pa. – The search for Michael Burham continues with law enforcement personnel believing some small stockpiles or campsites in the Warren vicinity may be connected to Burham.

Officials also believe it’s a possibility there may be one or more individuals aiding Burham

“In the past 24 hours, we’ve searched numerous residences, abandoned structures, and vast wooded areas, all of those searches driven by tips or investigative decisions,” said Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens, Deputy Commissioner of Operations for the Pennsylvania State Police during a media conference Sunday in Youngsville. “As a result of those searches, we have located some small stockpiles or campsites in wooded areas in the general vicinity of Warren. We believe these sites are associated with Burham. We have no reason to believe Burham has left the general area. That being said, we have received several tips for investigative leads from outside the area and are thoroughly investigating each and every one of those. None of them has caused us to change our assessment that he remains in this area, but we are constantly reevaluating that position. We ask that people nationwide familiarize themselves with the picture of Michael Burham and please contact us if you believe you may have seen him.”

See the full media conference:

Citing the ongoing investigation, Bivens declined to answer where the stockpiles/sites were discovered or what was found at the sites.

He reiterated that the belief Burham may be receiving aid is based on information that law enforcement has developed.

“Everything that we’re doing is based on information we developed,” Bivens said. “When I say there may be one or more individuals assisting him, that’s part of that ongoing investigation. Certainly, if they are, they’re putting themselves in legal peril. We will prosecute them and, again, we’re doing everything in our power to locate him and also to identify anyone who may offer him any kind of assistance. I think that’s entirely possible, that he may be getting some assistance.”

It is unknown at this time if Burham has changed his physical appearance, although authorities believe he has changed out of the prison clothing he escaped in.

“I wouldn’t be in a position to predict what he may or may not have done to his appearance,” Bivens said. “Again, what I would say is we’re trying to get his face out there. Someone shouldn’t necessarily be driven just by hairstyle or beard or that type of thing. There’s no way to tell what he may or may not have done to alter his appearance.”

Bivens reiterated that Burham is a survivalist with experience in the military as a reservist and that he may get more desperate the longer the search goes on. The public is urged not to approach him.

“It’s hard to say what his mindset is, whether anyone is in additional danger,” Bivens said. “I do think that not only him but anyone in this situation becomes more desperate over time. We plan to use that to our advantage. We’re pushing hard to try and locate him. If he’s here, if he’s out here in the woods, we’ll continue to push hard. He’s not going to get a lot of rest. We’re going to push hard until we find him.

“Burham is considered to be armed and dangerous and we ask that anyone who thinks they may see him, not to approach, but again to call us (814-728-3600).”

If Burham is captured without incident, it is unclear if he will be returned to the Warren County Jail or be taken elsewhere.

“That has not been determined yet,” Bivens said. “It just depends on where he’s captured. There are rules that pertain to how you arraign them and what happens to them from there. There would be a discussion and decisions made by certainly the district attorney’s office. We would have, I’m sure, an opportunity to discuss that with them and have a decision made at that time. But our focus right now is on capturing him.”

There is a $7,500 reward being offered by the US Marshals for any information that leads to the apprehension of Burham, as well as $2,000 by the Warren County Crime Stoppers.

Anyone with information is asked to contact PSP Warren Station at 814-728-3600.

“All tips are being investigated regardless of where they are located,” Bivens said. “This remains a very fluid and active investigation and is being conducted in conjunction with more than a dozen of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners and we are adding to those numbers nearly on an hourly basis.”

Bivens also gave a little more insight into the circumstances leading to Burham’s escape, specifically why Burham was in the Warren Jail “yard” late at night (the escape occurred shortly before 11:30 p.m. Thursday).

“The explanation that has been provided to me is that in order to only allow a certain number of inmates out in that exercise area at any one time, they have to have a schedule,” Bivens said. “That schedule runs from very early in the morning to very late at night in order to be able to properly accommodate the legal requirements for yard time for the inmates.”

The Warren City police are investigating the escape, and the Pennsylvania State Police are in charge of the manhunt, Bivens said while emphasizing that the Warren police have no affiliation with the prison.

Burham is the primary suspect in the May 11 homicide of Kala Hodgkin in Jamestown (N.Y.), as well as the kidnapping of a Sheffield couple that he transported to the Carolinas using their car before being captured in North Charleston, S.C., and being extradited back to Pennsylvania.

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