After 18 days on the run, 22-year-old Michael Alexander Brown was taken into custody Nov. 27 at the Woodthrush Circle home in Hardy where he was accused of killing his mother’s boyfriend, Rodney Wilfred Brown, on Nov. 9.
“This has been an intense manhunt for the past 18 days, covering three states and multiple, surrounding jurisdictions,” Franklin County Sheriff Bill Overton said in a news conference later that morning. “I am thankful this situation has come to a successful closure, without injury to the public and law enforcement personnel.”
The manhunt for Brown, a U.S. Marine deserter, cost time and resources for local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and certainly set the community on edge. In Roanoke, the search prompted a “shelter in place” for most of the day Nov. 14 (Roanoke City Schools were closed for the entire day) after Brown was spotted knocking on windows at his grandmother’s home in Roanoke.
Other calls from the public prompted law enforcement to search additional areas, too. There were reported sightings of Brown in the Hollins area of Roanoke County, as well as in the New River Valley. Brad Sellers, acting marshal for the Western District of Virginia, said the U.S. Marshals Service received more than 340 tips during the three-week investigation.
When asked at the news conference how much the search cost, Overton was unsure.
“I don’t have any numbers,” he said. “As we’ve said you can quite imagine this has been an extensive effort for the past 18 days. I have been very thankful for all that has been done in this particular case, and that it was quite extensive for us, and we’re thankful for the resources that were pulled together to get this to completion.”
We are thankful, too, and applaud the efforts of law enforcement to bring this phase of the investigation to a close.
Those included long hours by officers from the U.S. Marshals Service, FBI and Virginia State Police, as well as the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, who all worked together to take Brown into custody on the day before Thanksgiving without incident.
And also, we might add, the public. While tips of sightings did not directly lead to Brown’s apprehension, certainly it was clear by the sheer volume of tips that residents were engaged in the effort.
“It’s been an extensive manhunt, numerous man hours dedicated to the pursuit of this,” Sellers said. “This case is illustrative of the cooperative efforts between our federal partners, state and local partners, that we pull together in times like this and collectively work together to make sure the public is as safe as possible.”
And all of this took place in the run-up to Thanksgiving, too, when so many of us were busy planning for the holiday.
Thank you, officers, for a job well done.