September 17, 2011
Manhunt centered in Virgil
Police search area for escaped soldier
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Dryden Village police officers Randy Mack, left, and Kyle Dinardo pull automatic weapons from the trunk of a patrol car at the police command center set up at Dryden Fire Department this morning. Police are searching for Pfc. Russell Marcum, 20, a Fort Drum soldier who has been on the run since Thursday night after leading police on a multicounty chase before escaping in Richfield Springs.
DRYDEN — A Fort Drum soldier charged with a Watertown burglary, who has been on the run since Thursday night, abandoned a stolen car around 2 a.m. this morning near Gee Hill Road in Virgil.
State police have set up an approximately 4-mile perimeter around the road and a command post at the Neptune Hose Co. No. 1 fire station in Dryden, state police Lt. Daniel Hodack said about 7 this morning.
Pfc. Russell C. Marcum, 20, of West Virginia, is believed to have a handgun and might be suicidal, State Trooper Jack Keller said Friday.
Marcum lead police on a multicounty chase Thursday night before escaping in Richfield Springs, Otsego County.
More than 50 officers from various police agencies are involved in the search this morning, Hodack said.
“We have a perimeter established in the town of Virgil,” he said this morning at the Dryden fire station.
Marcum was last seen on foot wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and tan camouflage pants, Hodack said. He is 6 foot 3, weighs 180 pounds and has blue eyes and short brown hair, he said. Police say they believe he may have since changed his clothing.
A state police helicopter and K-9 units were involved with the search that began early this morning.
After getting away in Otsego County, Marcum stole a car Friday night in the Herkimer County town of West Winfield, police said, and drove west.
At approximately 1:50 a.m., a Tompkins County Sheriff patrol car spotted the stolen vehicle on Route 13 in the Ithaca area. Police attempted to stop the vehicle but Marcum refused to comply. A chase ensued and Marcum abandoned the car on Gee Hill Road after the pursuit, Hodack said. Marcum was last seen running into the woods on foot.
Marcum’s parents had just bailed him out of a Jefferson County jail where he was held on a burglary charge when he assaulted a soldier escorting him back to Fort Drum about 8 p.m. Thursday and escaped in his parents’ white 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche sport utility vehicle, Keller said. A chase through Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga and Otsego counties ended when police damaged the car tires with a spike strip and it crashed near the intersection of Route 20 and Cole Hill Road. Marcum then ran into woods near Richfield Springs, south of Utica.
Keller said the soldier who was assaulted was not seriously hurt.
Police advised residents in the Virgil and Dryden areas to be on the lookout and watch out for any type of break-ins to garages or smaller buildings on their property.
“Anything suspicious should be reported to 911 immediately,” Hodack said.
Authorities warned that Marcum should be considered dangerous and that he had reportedly said he would force police to shoot him to end his life.
Gee Hill and Kohne roads at their intersection of Route 392 in Virgil were closed this morning as police searched the area. Tompkins Cortland Community College canceled activities for the day.
Marcum is from Morgantown, W. Va., and joined the Army in August 2010. He was deployed with the 10th Mountain Division to Afghanistan this year from January to March, according to officials at Fort Drum.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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