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Oct 3, 2014 2:53 PM

FBI: Tests can't link diapers to ambush suspect

The Associated Press

DNA testing was inconclusive on soiled diapers thought to have been left by Pennsylvania police ambush suspect Eric Frein, the FBI said Friday.

The diapers had been exposed to the elements, so "you can't say one way or the other" whether Frein wore them, said Edward Hanko, special agent in charge of the Philadelphia FBI office.

State police announced last week they had discovered diapers in the northeastern Pennsylvania woods where Frein is believed to be hiding, and that he might have worn them so he could remain stationary for long periods of time.

Hanko said the diapers might have belonged to Frein, but the testing didn't confirm it or rule it out.

Hundreds of law enforcement officials have been searching for Frein, 31, of Canadensis, who's charged with killing Cpl. Bryon Dickson and seriously wounding Trooper Alex Douglass in the late-night attack outside the Blooming Grove barracks.

The manhunt is concentrated on a heavily forested area around the northeastern Pennsylvania home where Frein lived with his parents. Authorities believe they have spotted Frein from a distance, but the rough terrain made it impossible to get to him.

State police Lt. Col. George Bivens planned to hold a news conference Friday afternoon to provide an update on the search.

Frein has been described as an anti-law enforcement survivalist and expert marksman at home in the woods. He's considered armed and dangerous.

Even as the manhunt wrapped up its third full week, police said they remain confident Frein will be caught.

"It's just a matter of time for him," said Trooper Ryan Lawrence, who spent five days in the search zone. "The commissioner down to every road trooper has the same resolve."

Lawrence, who worked a 12-hour overnight shift on road and perimeter patrol, said the possibility that Frein was lurking somewhere nearby was never far from his mind.

"You definitely have to stay within a tactical mindset, just so you're not opening yourself up for a possible attack, at least limiting the possibility of making yourself a target," Lawrence said Friday.

The trooper would keep himself out of the glare cast by his car's headlights, for instance, giving him the ability to observe but not easily be observed.

Lawrence lives in Lancaster, about 100 miles from the search area. Troopers throughout Pennsylvania are signing up to search for Frein, he said.

"The driving force is obviously for the family of Cpl. Bryon Dickson. It's a commonly spoken thing while there, you are doing it for him and his family," Lawrence said. "There's a wife and two sons who aren't able to have their state trooper come home, and that's a driving force for a lot of our guys up there."

Pennsylvania state police have been joined by law enforcement officials from New York and New Jersey state police, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and other federal agencies. The FBI alone has between 140 and nearly 200 of its staff in the field each day, Hanko said, including agents, analysts, technicians, three full SWAT teams and members of a hostage rescue team.

Frein is not living off the land, Hanko said, but surviving on tuna fish, bottled water and other supplies he brought with him into the woods.

"He'll be located," Hanko said. "All our intel, and all of our analysis, and the sightings, and the items we've recovered that have been recently used tell us he's there."


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