ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — A Marine deserter wanted in the fatal shooting of his mother’s boyfriend was captured Wednesday after a weekslong, multistate search that had schools and neighborhoods on alert in Roanoke, Virginia.
Michael Alexander Brown, 22, was safely taken into custody Wednesday morning in Franklin County, U.S. Marshals Service spokeswoman Nikki Credic-Barrett told The Associated Press.
Brown is charged with second-degree murder in the Nov. 9 killing of a man described as his mother’s boyfriend. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office has said a motive is unclear.
The Marine’s mother told investigators that she saw her son kill Rodney Wilfred Brown at a home in Hardy, Virginia, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court. She also identified the getaway vehicle, which was later found in South Carolina, hours southwest of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, where her son had been stationed.
Investigators think he later drove a recreational vehicle to Roanoke and tried to contact his grandmother. Police spotted the camper and used an armored vehicle to destroy it before discovering that Brown was not inside. With a suspect considered armed and dangerous thought to be loose in the area, schools in Roanoke closed for a day and residents were warned to lock their doors and windows.
According to the sheriff’s office, Brown deserted his post at Camp Lejeune, where he served as a combat engineer, in October and was then seen in and around Franklin County. He was known to live in the woods and frequent national parks and national forest land, the sheriff’s office said.
In an interview with a local TV station, Brown’s mother and grandmother had pleaded for him to turn himself in.
“Michael you’re my baby I love you, please, I can’t lose you. I’m scared for you,” his mother said. “We will get you a lawyer, we will help you, I won’t leave you, just please turn yourself in. I can’t lose another person.”
The attorney listed for Brown in court records could not immediately be reached.
A news conference on his arrest was expected later Wednesday morning.