Pennsylvania Hunt for Alleged Cop Killer Frein in 18th Day

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BARRETT TOWNSHIP, Pennsylvania — The area where police and federal agents are searching for alleged cop killer Eric Frein is more wilderness than woods. Few residents live here this time of year, leaving countless empty homes, sheds barns, and other places for Frein to hide. Off the main roads the terrain is inhospitable, with caves, ravines, swamps, even bear dens where the suspect may be hiding.

For 18 days now, military-style tactical units, tracking dogs, helicopters, and state police armed assault rifles have waged a relentless effort. It’s not unusual to see hundreds of police setting up perimeters along a typically quiet country road, while helicopters circle overhead, and camouflaged officers press deep into the brush.

Frein, 31, is charged with killing State Police Cpl. Bryon Dickson and seriously injuring Trooper Alex Douglass on Sept. 12. Police now believe Frein experimented with explosives and may have booby-trapped the woods. Authorities have said tracking dogs have lost his scent because of the many rivers and streams. They say that searching from the skies has been hampered by a leafy canopy.

Through it all, area residents watch what police say is sometimes a game of cat-and-mouse, with a nerve-wracking mix of anxiety, fear and frustration.


— Ron Allen