Docs: Michael Burham left note to father after suspected killing, kidnapping

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A man wanted on a slew of charges including homicide and kidnapping, and who led authorities in a multi-day manhunt in Berkeley County, appears to have written a note to his father, according to a federal document.

Michael Burham, 34, was apprehended on Wednesday afternoon not long after he was spotted hiding out behind a home on United Drive in Berkeley County amid a search by several law enforcement agencies including the FBI.

Federal documents released Thursday provided a timeline of crimes allegedly committed by Burham spanning multiple states. It also revealed a letter assumed to have been written by the suspect in a vehicle used as part of a kidnapping.

“Hey Dad, I’m safe for now,” the note reads. “Just left the area. Sorry for all the problems I caused the family. I quit drinking since May 10th. I’m not sorry for what I did, however I do feel terrible about the children. I would like [redacted] and (illegible) to adopt [redacted]. Talk to you soon. Love Mike.”

According to information provided in the document by Special Agent Jeffrey Homza with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, police in Jamestown, New York responded to reports of shots fired early in the morning of May 11 at a home belonging to Kala Hodgkin.

“Responding personnel located Hodgkin unresponsive … with apparent gunshot wounds,” the report reads. Hodgkin, a mother of three, did not survive the shooting and her death was ruled a homicide.

Agent Homza said that at the time Hodgkin was killed, an active arrest warrant existed charging Burham with rape.

It also said Jamestown officers responded to a domestic incident where Burham’s former girlfriend stated that the suspect attempted to break into her home and proceeded to set her vehicle on fire.

Later, the Pennsylvania State Police were contacted by an individual on May 20 concerned that her parents did not attend their granddaughter’s soccer game. The victims were not at home during a check, nor did they answer phone calls, according to the documents.

Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) issued a missing/endangered persons alert for the victims.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol later contacted PSP saying they had located the victims alive in a cemetery in North Charleston on Sunday, May 21. The victims told authorities that they had been kidnapped at gunpoint from their home in Sheffield, PA, and identified Burham as their kidnapper.

The victim’s vehicle was in the surrounding area and the note – believed to be from Burham – was found inside.

A search for Burham ensued in the North Charleston area on Sunday and spanned into Monday. The manhunt shifted to Berkeley County and the Francis Marion National Forest on Tuesday afternoon after deputies there came into contact with a subject who appeared to be Burham. Unfortunately, Burham was able to evade law enforcement, prompting a massive search of the area.

The FBI announced a $10,000 reward for information that led to Burham’s capture.

He was later found near a shed off United Drive and taken into custody late Wednesday afternoon. He was expected to appear in a federal courtroom on Thursday.

Burham was being housed at the Charleston County Detention Center.