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Meth lab explosion suspect, who escaped Richmond police, arrested in Pennsylvania

Posted at 11:10 PM, Apr 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-24 12:44:29-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Harold Warner, the New York meth lab explosion suspect who was hiding out in Richmond with his fellow suspect and girlfriend when she drowned in the James River last month, has been caught.

Richmond police spokesman Gene Lepley said Warner was picked up by Pennsylvania police early Tuesday.

According to news reports, Warner appeared to be intoxicated when he was pulled over in Cumberland County, Pa. He had a fake ID and syringes with him, police reported.

He is being held as a fugitive on meth manufacturing charges, arson, child endangerment and other charges in connection with the Feb. 19 apartment explosion in Hornell, NY.

Harold Guy Warner and Amy Sue Briscoe

Harold Guy Warner and Amy Sue Briscoe

Warner and his girlfriend, 36-year-old Amy Sue Briscoe, were hiding out in a tent pitched on a somewhat remote shoulder of Brown's Island downtown.

On the morning of March 29 they were spotted floating in the cold river, her trying to hold her clothes over her head.

They were sucked over the dangerous old hydroelectric levee below the Manchester Bridge and Briscoe was trapped in the hydraulics and drowned.

Warner was rescued and treated for hypothermia, telling rescuers and investigators that he had just met the woman that morning and didn't know her at all.

He had a fake ID. Once he was treated, he disappeared.

Further investigation revealed Briscoe had burns on her hands, leading RPD to realize the identities and fugitive status of the drowning victim and the man who slipped away.

One of the mysteries was why the couple was in the river, Lepley said.

"That water was freezing cold, no one would go in there willingly," he said.

The man they treated for hypothermia, Warner, told rescuers they had been drinking and got stuck in the mud and they tried to float their way out of it.

But witnesses who talked to investigators said it appeared the couple had gotten in the water and floated downstream when a police officer walked nearby.

"Their speculation is they were going into the water to try to avoid detection by police," Lepley said.