Pennsylvania state police swarmed through a long-abandoned resort complex in the Pocono Mountains on Friday as the two-week manhunt for a survivalist suspected in shooting two troopers shifted its focus to the sprawling property.
The search for Eric Matthew Frein, who police said killed one officer and wounded a second at a state police barracks on Sept. 12, turned to the Inn at Buck Hill Falls, a 400-room, fortress-like structure on 134 acres of land in Barrett Township, Pennsylvania.
Frein, 31, described as an expert marksman and a skilled woodsman, has eluded the hundreds of law-enforcement officers who have been combing the rugged terrain around Blooming Grove, the site of the fatal ambush in the northeastern corner of the state.
Meanwhile, new details about Frein’s past emerged. He studied at East Stroudsburg University as a history major in the fall of 2005, and returned for the fall 2011 and spring 2012 semesters as a chemistry major, said Brenda Friday, a spokeswoman for the state-owned school in Pennsylvania.
She said state police had served search warrants on the school this week for Frein’s school records.
Frein, who is on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list, also worked part time at a Boy Scouts camp on the archery and shooting ranges from 2004 to 2005 and 2011 to 2013, according to Craig Poland, an official with Minsi Trails Council Boy Scouts of America.
Poland declined to say if Frein was ever a Boy Scout.
The search of Frein has involved officers from state, local and federal law-enforcement agencies, using helicopters, armored vehicles and sophisticated tracking technology. Still, Frein has managed to evade capture, even though police say they have sighted him several times, just out of reach.
On Friday, as police swarmed the grounds of the inn, abandoned in 1991, authorities repeatedly asked members of the media who entered the property to leave.
”The inn is private property and the Pennsylvania State Police have permission to be there,” said Trooper Tom Kelly in an email. “The media does not. You must move now.”
The property, which is near the home of Frein’s parents in Canadensis, Pennsylvania, lies in a zone, stretching north to the barracks in Blooming Grove, where police say the suspect killed Corporal Bryon Dickson II, 38, and seriously wounded Trooper Alex Douglas, 31.
(Reporting by Joe McDonald; Writing By Frank McGurty; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)