Christy captured: Police dog helps capture fugitive who eluded authorities for months
In this photo released by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Shawn Christy is apprehended in Mifflin Township, near Columbus, Ohio, on Friday. Christy was arrested at 4:30 p.m. Friday in Mifflin Township, near Columbus, by marshals and task force members from Ohio and Pennsylvania. OHIO STATE HIGHWAY PATROL VIA AP
In this photo released by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Shawn Christy is apprehended in Mifflin Township, near Columbus, Ohio, on Friday. Scan this photo with the Prindeo app to see a photo gallery. OHIO STATE HIGHWAY PATROL
In the end, it was a police dog that sniffed out and took down long-running Schuylkill County fugitive Shawn Christy as he hid from the law in Mansfield, Ohio.
Christy, 26, of McAdoo, was taken into custody at 4:30 p.m. Friday after eluding authorities for months, the last five days in Ohio.
He was armed with a gun and a large knife, Deputy U.S. Marshal Anne Murphy of the Northern District of Ohio said in a press conference later Friday.
Christy was wanted by federal law enforcement after, among other crimes, threatening on June 12 on his Facebook page to shoot President Donald Trump in the head and making the same threat to Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli.
Christy was taken to a local hospital for examination and he’ll be jailed in Richland County, Ohio, prison until he is taken to a federal court on Monday, Murphy said.
From there, he’ll be brought back to Pennsylvania.
“There’s a very good chance that he’s facing further charges,” Murphy said.
“We are most pleased that this case is resolved with Mr. Christy safely in custody and headed back to Pennsylvania to face justice,” said U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio Pete Elliott.
“While he may have exhibited a strong determination to avoid capture, I hope he now understands that U.S. Marshals fugitive task forces are resolute and will not stop until they get their man.”
FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Secret Service had been searching for Christy since June. He faces numerous charges in addition to the ones that stem from the threats against Trump and Morganelli.
Christy fled to Ohio from the woods in the Hometown/Barnesville area of Schuylkill County after stealing a utility truck from Skitco Iron Works in Hazle Township, Luzerne County, on the night of Sept. 15. He abandoned the truck a day later on an embankment off Interstate 71 near Columbus, Ohio, and ran off into a wooded area.
In the days that followed, dozens of law enforcement officers searched for Christy, using dogs, drones, and tips from locals.
“We have been combing the area for four days, and we finally zeroed in on an area where we thought he was hiding,” Murphy said.
It was pouring rain when the K-9 nosed out Christy as he hid in a ravine near a Lutheran summer camp, Camp Mowana, in Mansfield.
The police dog “picked up on his scent and brought him down,” said Brian Fitzgibbon of the U.S. Marshals Service.
“We captured him by closing in on him,” he said.
Fitzgibbon said Christy had “camps set up” in the area.
“He was hiding. He was actively hiding. He actively hid from our team on the ground,” Murphy said.
It was unclear Friday whether the gun Christy had was the one he referred to in a message his father, Craig Christy, posted on his Facebook page, Shawn Christy Political Prisoner.
“I still got my trusty 380” the message said.
Craig Christy recently hired reality show personality “Dog the Bounty Hunter” to bring his son safely to custody.
Craig Christy sometimes posted that he was in touch with his son.
Shawn Christy’s flight from the law began in June when he failed to appear for jury selection for his trial on charges that he assaulted the McAdoo Mayor Stephen Holly, swinging a 4-foot stick at him.
He traveled to Maryland, New York, West Virginia, Kentucky and Maryland.
He stole vehicles and firearms along the way, police have said.
On July 25, he is believed to have stolen numerous firearms from his uncle’s home in Luzerne County.
On Aug. 23, he returned to Pennsylvania from Maryland, where he is believed to have hidden out in the woods in Rush Township.
During that time, he was seen on a video surveillance tape looking into the camera as he ate food after breaking into Skipper Dippers along Route 309 in Still Creek, Rush Township.
On Sept. 13, he posted to his parents on Facebook.
“I think I shattered my knee during a MD getaway, so I’ve been slowed down a bit,” he said in the message, which was posted around 11 p.m. “Stay safe, I have a mission to complete.”
Christy was also the subject of a six-month restraining order sought by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin after he barraged her friend with emails and phone calls.
The order was extended for an additional six months after he traveled to Alaska. He and his father in 2011 were arrested on federal charges after harassing and threatening Palin’s lawyers.