Authorities searching for fugitive Michael Burham in Awendaw community
BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – A multi-agency search for wanted fugitive Michael Burham has entered day four in the Lowcountry, stretching into the Francis Marion National Forest and the Awendaw community.
Kevin Wheeler, a South Carolina spokesman for the FBI, said Burham was spotted late Tuesday night near Broomstraw Hill Road following an hours-long search in the forest near Huger in Berkeley County.
Authorities believe Burham may be hitchhiking and could be utilizing a beach cruiser bicycle for transportation. Law enforcement said they will saturate the surrounding areas on Wednesday amid their search.
Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis said during a Tuesday afternoon press conference that his deputies were responding to a tip that someone matching Burham’s description was seen near Halfway Creek Road when they encountered an individual who they identified as the suspect.
“My sheriff’s deputies had him on the side of the road. They were asking questions, he was being real evasive. At that point, they determined he was the suspect that all the law enforcement agencies in the Lowcountry are looking for,” said Sheriff Duane Lewis.
But while deputies were investigating his information, Burham took off and a foot pursuit ensued. Burham was able to evade law enforcement and was believed to be within a 10-mile radius of a wooded area near Halfway Creek Road and South Hampton Drive.
The search prompted Halfway Creek Road from Steed Creek Road to United Road to be closed to traffic for hours.
In addition, helicopters from both the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division were brought in as well as multiple assets to help in the search for Burham.
The sheriff’s office said there were hundreds of law enforcement officials on the case. “We are utilizing every available resource to find this fugitive. We have all hands on deck and we will not stop the search,” said Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis.
Incident Command was turned over to Charleston County and the FBI on Wednesday morning after Burham was spotted in the Awendaw area.
The 35-year-old white male was last seen wearing blue shorts and a grey shirt. He is about 5’9″ in height, weighing 150 pounds.
The reason for Burham being in the Charleston area is unknown but his evasion from authorities could mean he is desperate, which BCSO said poses a greater danger to the public.
A local search began Sunday as the North Charleston Police Department reported to a Rivers Avenue business where investigators met two victims stating they were kidnapped from Pennsylvania and driven to North Charleston.
Authorities searched along Rivers Avenue and surrounding areas late into the night on Sunday through Monday afternoon but did not locate the suspect.
Nexstar affiliate WIVB reported that Burham was wanted for questioning in the death of Jamestown, New York mother, 34-year-old Kalamae Hodgkin, earlier this month. His warrant there includes sexual assault, unlawful imprisonment, endangering the welfare of a child, and arson.
Burham is considered armed and dangerous. If you see him, do not approach or attempt to contact him. Call 9-1-1 immediately.