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Search For John David Brown Nears Third Week

April 12, 1987

ROLLA, Mo. (AP) _ A task force of officers kept up a manhunt in dense forest Sunday for a man who is wanted in the shooting of a policeman and is believed to have been spotted several times in recent days.

″I don’t want to make him out to be more than he actually is. He has some (survival) skills, but he’s no Rambo,″ Missouri Highway Patrol Lt. Ernest McCutchen said of fugitive John David Brown.

About 200 law officers using bloodhounds and helicopters armed with sensitive tracking equipment have searched for Brown in the woods around this east-central Missouri town for 14 days.

Brown, 32, is wanted for shooting and wounding a Rolla police officer March 30 and in connection with the April 1 killing of church caretaker Claude Long, 56, in nearby Doolittle. The Buffalo, Mo., native escaped in 1984 from a minimum-security prison in Fordland, where he was serving a burglary sentence.

Patrol Capt. Ralph Biele said Brown may have found a good hiding place and decided to ″stay low for a while.″

″Time is on our side in this thing,″ Biele said Sunday. ″Our people are frustrated, but they’re sleeping six to eight hours in a bed. They’re eating three meals a day.

″The pressure and the strain is on him, not us. He’s the one being hunted, not us.″

Police have vowed to pursue Brown as long as they know he is still in the area.

Brown was believed spotted early Saturday by a helicopter crew patrolling northwest of Rolla, but the figure ducked into woods and dogs later lost the scent.

Brown also was suspected of breaking into a home Thursday and stealing food. A man believed to have been Brown was spotted two days earlier crossing a pasture.

Some callers to a talk show Sunday on Springfield radio station KTTS questioned the expense of the search and whether it should be continued.

McCutchen told listeners that he did not have exact figures, but said no officers were being paid overtime and that the patrol had a special budget to cover expenses from such a manhunt.

He noted that the community has donated food for the officers, so lodging and fuel for helicopters were the biggest expenses.

Biele said law enforcement was not suffering in Missouri because of the manhunt.

″After two weeks, when you’ve had this many officers here and not made an apprehension, it’s normal that people would start second-guessing us,″ Biele said. ″We’re doing what we think is right and will continue doing this until we catch him or we’re convinced he’s out of the area.″

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