Breaking News Emails
At night, mom-of-two Cathy Tolomeo sits in the living room of her house in the Pennsylvania woods with a can of wasp spray, fretting that a suspected cop-killer armed with two high-powered rifles might be lurking in the dark.
The week-old manhunt for Eric Frein has frayed nerves in communities near the state police barracks where a gunman shot dead one trooper, wounded another and then vanished back into the dense forest.
Breaking News Emails
"I pretty much haven't slept since this started," Tolomeo told NBC News on Friday, a day after Frein was added to the FBI's most-wanted list. "I sit in the living room and I listen for every noise.
"Everything you hear — whether it’s a deer, the house settling or the wind blowing — you panic."
Tolomeo is afraid to let her energetic daughters — ages 4 and almost 2 — play outside their Greentown house, which is about 20 miles from the Blooming Grove barracks and two miles from Frein's home.
The older girl's school is closed, like many others in the search area.
"She's cooped," the mom said. "She looks outside and she wants to go play and she can't."
Her husband, Jason, said he tenses up every time he sees a strange car. When he drives up the road, he's on edge.
"He could be anywhere," he said. "We could go up to the stop sign and he could jump out from the garbage dumpster or a tree or something."
They are full-time residents, but the woods are full of weekend and summer homes that might be an ideal hiding spot for a suspect who is being hunted by hundreds of police officers around the clock.
"He could be in a house next door, taking up shelter, for all we know," Cathy Tolomeo said. "We moved up here to be safer and he took that away — for now."
At a Thursday afternoon news conference, police said they have reason to believe Frein has not gone far from the barracks where Cpl. Bryon Dickson was killed and Trooper Alex Douglass was wounded while going to his aid.
His green Jeep Cherokee was found a few days later in a shallow pond two miles from the barracks. Left behind were two rifle cases.
Jim Novak — who spotted the SUV and gave investigators the first break — said Frein had chosen the perfect place to hide.
"He probably has the right camo and he would blend in," he said. "The game wardens and the hunters are the ones who know these woods. If he hasn't been caught, the hunters will find him."
Pennsylvania police, the FBI, and law enforcement from neighboring states are scouring the woods, checking hunting camps and houses, and chasing down possible sightings that are pouring in.
A tip on Thursday night brought roadblocks and a massive police response to the area around Canadensis, where Frein's family lives.
"They were using my field for a staging area," said Dave Price, who lives in neighboring Cresco. "There were dozens of police cars, SWAT vehicles and helicopters and planes flyIng over.
Price said there's no quick way to find Frein — whose hobby was military simulations, playing a Serbian soldier in the wilderness.
"Where the shooting took place there's tens of thousands of undeveloped acres of woods," he said.