Manhunt for man who claimed he 'had been forced to kill three people' ends when he's caught in stolen Corvette, cops say

Source: Howard County Police Department

Oct. 3 2021, Published 9:19 a.m. ET

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An almost 18-hour-long manhunt ended when a Maryland suspected in a triple-murder flagged down a firefighter claiming he was forced to murder, police said.

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Jeffrey Allen Burnham was arrested in connection to the murder of 83-year-old Rebecca Reynolds in Cumberland on Sept. 29, as well as the murders of his brother, Brian Robinette, 58, and sister-in-law Kelly Sue Robinette, 57, in Ellicott City, Maryland, on Sept. 30.

In Maryland, Howard County Police detectives said the victims were “targeted” and are still investigating the time of the murders and the possible motive.

Cumberland police in Maryland, along with detectives from the Allegany County Combined Criminal Investigation Unit, responded to a residence for a death investigation at about 7:20 p.m. on Sept. 29. There, they found Reynolds.

Authorities said Reynolds’ body “had obvious signs of trauma, police said, and her death was ruled a homicide by a state medical examiner, according to The Cumberland Times-News. She was reportedly a friend of Burnham’s mother.

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Officers also determined Reynolds’ 2020 Lincoln was stolen after the killing. Police in Howard County, Maryland, reportedly found the abandoned Lincoln in Ellicott City on Sept. 30.

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Police went to Burnham's brother's home upon realizing he had family in the immediate area. They reportedly arrived in hopes of making contact with Burnham's family members but instead found the Robinettes dead on the scene, and their Corvette was stolen.

Howard County police altered the public, offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to Burnham's arrest, and urged the public to consider the 5-foot-3-inch, 170-lbs man "armed and extremely dangerous."

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Burnham was reportedly spotted on the side of a road in Davis, West Virginia, with the 2007 red Corvette he reportedly stole from his brother's home. West Virginia State Police said Burnham reportedly flagged down a firefighter in Tucker County and allegedly said he "had been forced to kill three people."

"It is unclear why Burnham had pulled off the roadway," Howard County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

Officials said they found Burnham at The Billy Motel and Bar, about 200 miles away from the scene of the three homicides, and took him into custody without incident. Authorities said they found a gun inside the allegedly stolen sports car.

“I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry,” Jeffery’s 83-year-old mother, Evelyn Burnham, told The Baltimore Sun.

“I just hope they find out what went wrong in his head.”


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