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Marine deserter – wanted for murder – arrested in Virginia

Posted at 9:27 AM, Nov 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-27 13:07:20-05

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. -- A Marine deserter accused of killing his mother's boyfriend was captured Wednesday morning in his mother's Virginia home -- the very place where he's alleged to have killed the man nearly three weeks ago, authorities said.

Michael Alexander Brown, 22, was arrested at his mother's home in Franklin County near the town of Hardy, about 9 miles east of Roanoke, Virginia, authorities said.

He'd been on the run since November 9, the day authorities say he killed 54-year-old Rodney Brown at the same home.

The arrest came after investigators received information that caused them to refocus on the residence, acting US Marshal Brad Sellers told reporters.

Sellers didn't give details about what led investigators back to the house, why Michael Brown had returned there, or where he had been since November 9.

No one else was in the house when the arrest happened, Sellers said.

"This has been an intense manhunt for the past 18 days, covering three states and multiple surrounding jurisdictions. I am thankful this situation has come to a successful closure," Franklin County Sheriff Bill Overton said.

Michael Brown had been placed on the FBI's Most Wanted list of fugitives on Monday.

He was being booked into a county jail on Wednesday morning. Overton said he didn't know when Brown's first court appearance would happen.

He's charged with second-degree murder

Brown deserted his post at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina in October.

The law enforcement hunt for him began after the Franklin County Sheriff's Office responded to a shooting call at the Franklin County home, where they found Rodney Brown dead in the home, authorities said.

Rodney Brown's girlfriend -- who is Michael Brown's mother -- called police after finding Rodney's body in the house, Franklin County sheriff's Capt. Phillip Young said.

Michael Brown is charged with second-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony. The motive in the killing is unclear.

The manhunt prompted school closures

The manhunt for Brown led Roanoke, Virginia, police to shut down schools in the city earlier this month. The closures came after authorities received a call at about 4 a.m. on November 14 regarding a possible sighting of Brown.

The caller told investigators that a man in a black jacket was tapping on a window at Brown's grandmother's house, Roanoke police Chief Tim Jones said. Officers responded and were "able to confirm to the best of our ability that it was Mr. Brown," he said.

Authorities had warned that Brown was believed to be armed with a high-powered rifle and was known to frequent national parks and forests.

The US Marshals Service had offered a reward of $10,000 for information that helped lead to the location and arrest of Brown.