Police knew their prey was armed with a sniper rifle, and possibly explosives, and that he was violent and had every reason to be reckless. His other advantage was the one that stretched out before them each morning, what one officer called “the vastness of these woods.” “The reason this took so long is that it was such a big wooded area that he was totally familiar with and had a lot of places to hide in,” said State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan. “And we had to be very careful with how we searched it.” In the rugged Pocono Mountains, police dogs lost scents. Helicopters with infrared sensors failed to pick up movements beneath the thick canopy. Troopers on foot saw barely more than a few yards ahead of them as they trekked through the heart of the forest.
Now that Pennsylvania cop-killer suspect Eric Frein has been captured, investigators are trying to understand why he allegedly ambushed a state police barracks in September with a high-powered rifle, killing a corporal and injuring a trooper he didn’t know, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. They also are working to piece together how Frein, 31, spent seven weeks eluding them. Traveling on foot and carrying a .308-caliber sniper rifle, he led police on an elaborate cat-and-mouse game in the deep woods. At least eight times, investigators found shelters where they believed Frein had been hiding. One was a cabin he appeared to have broken into just two days after a search team had cleared it.