Law enforcement search an area near the Warren County Jail for Michael Burham, who escaped late Thursday night.

Manhunt Continues for Burham After His Escape From Warren County Jail

July 7, 2023

WARREN, Pa. – The search for Michael Burham, the man connected to a May homicide in Jamestown as well as the kidnapping of a Sheffield couple, continues after his escape from the Warren County Jail late Thursday night.

(Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 3:20 p.m.)

Public Information Officer Cecile Stetler confirmed that Burham escaped from the jail just before midnight Thursday night from the recreation yard.

“Because he was in the recreation area, he was not restrained at the time,” Stetler said during a press conference shortly after 12 p.m. “He elevated himself from a piece of exercise equipment and was able to exit the yard through a metal gated roof, using bed sheets he tied together and was able to escape to the ground.”

Escape charges were filed against Burham with District Judge Raymond Zydonik on Friday afternoon.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, video surveillance footage showed Burham walking in and out of his jail cell in Block B, with other inmates also observed walking around the yard.

“At approximately 11:26 p.m., the defendant (Burham) was observed standing on a pull up machine. The defendant then exited the yard through a metal gated roof. After escaping from the yard, the defendant tied a rope which consisted of multiple sheets tide together. The defendant then tied said rope from the roof and allowed it to hang on to a portico. The defendant slid down the rope, landing on the portico, and jumped from the portico to the ground. He then took off on foot.”

Stetler said that he was under video surveillance at the time, but wasn’t sure if there were prison guards present in the recreation yard.

“I don’t know (if any guards were in the recreation yard,” Stetler said. “There were several inmates in there. I know he was under video surveillance at the time. It was literally within minutes (that guards noticed him missing). They responded almost immediately.”

Michael Burham.

Stetler didn’t say if there would be any investigation into how Burham was able to escape.

“Right now, I believe all of the resources are focused on his recapture and keeping the public safe,” Stetler said.

Burham was last seen at approximately 11:20 p.m. Thursday wearing a blue denim jacket with white lettering on the back that reads “Warren County Jail,” as well as orange and white striped pants.

Federal, state and local resources are working cooperatively on this developing incident. Current law enforcement resources assigned to this incident include: Warren City Police, Pennsylvania State Police, Warren County EMA, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Border Patrol, Warren County Sheriff, Chautauqua County Sheriff, Jamestown (NY) Police, Bradford City Police, and Pennsylvania Game Commission. These cooperators are using available resources including ground assets (foot, K-9, motorized) and aerial resources (drones and aircraft).

“The radius and the expansion of the search area will be dependent based on the process of examining areas and ruling them out,” Stetler said. “The immediate City of Warren area has been searched and the search area has expanded. This is an individual who is known to possess survival skills.”

The public is asked to report anything unusual to law enforcement by calling 911 and they should expect to see an increase in law enforcement presence in the area. All tips and information relating to this individual and his recapture are appreciated. An Incident Command Post has been established at the Warren County Courthouse.

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