BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Multiple law enforcement agencies are aiding in the search for a wanted fugitive in the Francis Marion National Forest on Tuesday.
Deputies with the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) encountered a suspicious person on a bicycle Tuesday morning. It came shortly after the agency received a call from someone on Halfway Creek Road saying there was an individual who matched the description of Michael Burham.
“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 during a Tuesday afternoon press conference on the search.
While deputies were investigating his information, Burham took off and a foot pursuit ensued. He was able to evade deputies; however, they believe he is still within a five to 10-mile radius within the woods near Halfway Creek Road and South Hampton Drive.
Halfway Creek Road from Steed Creek Road to United Road will remain closed to traffic as the search continues, and the search is expected to go into the overnight hours.
Multiple resources have been brought in to aid in the search for Burham including helicopters from both the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. The FBI is expected to send another air assets team to assist.
Burham, a 35-year-old white male, was last seen wearing blue shorts and a grey shirt. Sheriff Lewis said he is 5’9″ and 150 lbs.
Authorities do not know why he came to the Charleston area but he does know that he’s running from the police and could be desperate, which they said poses a greater threat to the public.
Deputies have stopped traffic on Halfway Creek Road from United Drive to Steed Creek Road during their search and investigation. Emergency officials are also sending out alerts to the general public asking for people to be on alert and to immediately report any suspicious behavior to 911.
The search began Sunday after officers with the North Charleston Police Department were dispatched to a business on Rivers Avenue where they met with two victims who said they had been kidnapped from Pennsylvania and driven to North Charleston.
A South Carolina spokesman for the FBI on Sunday night told News 2 they were assisting authorities out of New York in locating Burham. He is wanted in the Jamestown, NY area as part of a rape and homicide investigation.
Police and the FBI searched along Rivers Avenue and surrounding areas for much of the night Sunday and into Monday afternoon.
If you see him, do not approach or attempt to contact him. Call 9-1-1 immediately.