BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Wanted fugitive Michael Burham is in custody following a days-long, multi-agency search that spanned portions of Charleston and Berkeley counties.
After warning residents to be vigilant and immediately report any suspicious behavior, a couple living on a property off United Drive called 9-1-1 after spotting Burham behind their home.
“Oh, it was wild, man,” said Anthony Phillips, who discovered Burham amid a heavily active search near his Berkeley County home. “I just got off work- I worked a 12-hour shift … I got here about three o’clock. She (his wife) got a package in the mail and said, ‘I’ve been waiting for you all day so you can walk out to the mailbox with me so I can get my package.’ We got out there and I’m like well, let’s walk around back just to make sure everything’s all right.”
But everything was not alright. They first noticed some shoes.
“His shoes, right there, in front of the pump house. We come over here and Sadie girl, a little Jack Russell Terrier, she started barking and then she comes over this way and starts barking,” he recalled.
“Seen the shoes and I was like, who’s shoes are those? … I seen something back there. I seen N1 on his shorts. I said ‘hey, bo.’ And I went to hollering and cussing at him, and I was telling her.”
Phillips said he wasn’t worried about what Burham was going to do.
“He ain’t gonna come this way, I’ll pull him down. But he stood up and said, ‘I’m not gonna hurt anybody, I’m gonna leave.’ And he came running over, grabbed his shoes. When he grabbed his shoes, he took off running that way. There’s a little cut right there and he fell.”
Phillips said Burham then got up and ran into the woods.
“We come up here, call the law, and they were up here within — boom, no time. They did their job,” he said.
9-1-1 was called at 3:30 p.m. and Burham was arrested by law enforcement at 5:17 p.m.
Burham was in rough shape after navigating the forest for days. “You could tell he had been in the elements for some time,” said Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis.
Neighbors who were watching the law enforcement activity in a rural area of the county cheered after BCSO spokeswoman Carli Drayton announced Burham was captured.
“I feel a lot better,” said neighbor Kenneth Drayton. “We can sleep better tonight and everybody’s safe in the neighborhood.”
Phillips said someone from the FBI is supposed to contact them about that $10,000 reward they were offering as part of the search for Burham.