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Hunt for suspect in Pennsylvania trooper shootings enters fourth week

Hunt for suspect in Pennsylvania trooper shootings enters fourth week
An undated photograph of Eric Frein in a war reenactment uniform. (Associated Press)

The hunt for a Pennsylvania survivalist accused of gunning down a state trooper entered its fourth week on Friday, and investigators believe colder temperatures and a lack of food will force Eric Frein out of hiding soon.

Speaking to reporters, Lt. Col. George Bivens of the Pennsylvania State Police said troopers have seized several caches of food and a large amount of ammunition that Frein stashed in the densely wooded section of the Pocono Mountains where he has apparently been hiding since Cpl. Bryon Dickson was shot to death Sept. 12.

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The search for Frein, described as a 31-year-old marksman with anti-government leanings and a grudge against law enforcement, turned to the woods around his family's Canadensis, Pa., home on Sept. 19.

Police say they have spotted Frein several times, but the wooded terrain and dense foliage have made it very difficult to trap the suspected shooter inside a police perimeter.

"You could literally walk right past someone, in some of this terrain, and not see them unless you stepped on them," said Bivens, deputy commissioner of operations for the state police.

Earlier this week, police discovered discarded clothes, backpacks and two explosive devices that may have belonged to Frein, Bivens said. Troopers have also been searching vacant cabins and trash bins near the edge of the woods, as they believe Frein is running out of food.

Police believe Frein has been surviving largely on canned tuna and ramen noodle packets, Bivens said Friday, but he may have to come out of hiding soon to search for sustenance as his supplies run low.

Rain is forecast in the area in the coming days, and with temperatures dropping Bivens said police believe Frein will have to seek shelter, which might make him easier to locate.

Police say Frein opened fire on Dickson outside the state police barracks in Blooming Grove, striking the seven-year veteran twice and wounding Trooper Alex T. Douglass as he tried to aid Dickson.

Dickson died a short time later while Douglass has been recovering at an area hospital. Bivens has repeatedly said there are no links between the troopers and Frein.

Police have previously said Frein probably planned the attack for years.

While troopers continue to scour the woods, Bivens said police are also considering asking Frein's parents to make a public appeal to their son.

"We are working with the Frein family on that," he said. "But no decision has been finalized."

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