-- A woman in northeastern Pennsylvania says she spotted accused police gunman Eric Frein while taking a walk Friday, a “high-credibility” sighting that has authorities refocusing their search.
The woman, who did not want her identity revealed, told ABC station WPVI-TV in Philadelphia that she was walking in Paradise Township, Monroe County, near Pocono Mountain East High School, when she noticed a man about 15 to 20 feet away.
She didn’t realize, at first, that it was possibly Frein.
“He had actually turned towards me and that's where you could tell the mud on his face, you could tell the height he was based on the truck he was standing next to,” she said Sunday.
“You could clearly tell it was a gun, a rifle with a scope attached to it. It looked as though he was looking for something or looking which way to go. He avoided making eye contact, I had the light shining on his upper half and his face was kind of confusing. This guy was not startled by me.”
The woman called police, and after authorities interviewed her, they shifted the search area for Frein.
“The individual's description was consistent with Frein and he was observed carrying a rifle,” Lt. Col. George Bivens of the Pennsylvania State Police said.
Frein, 31, is accused of ambushing state police in early September, killing one and wounding another. Since then, police say he has been hiding in the woods of the Pocono Mountains. Frein attended Pocono Mountain East High School and worked at Camp Minsi, which is also in the vicinity, Bivins said.
Schools in the area are scheduled to open today, but with added security. Eighth-grader Luke Bokins told WPVI-TV that the search for Frein has been concerning for the local community.
“I’ll probably go to school,” Bokins said. “But, I mean, it’s probably not a great idea to keep school open if he’s still going around the school.”
Frein, from nearby Canadensis, has been spotted several times, but always evaded police capture because of the thick terrain. He's a self-trained survivalist and war re-enactor who focused on Eastern European militaries and weapons.
Police found Frein's Jeep in a swamp shortly after the shooting. They have also found two pipe bombs, an AK-47, food, ammunition, clothing and other supplies in the search.