Michael Alexander Brown was on the run from the FBI for nearly three weeks after investigators said he murdered his mother’s boyfriend at her home in Virginia on November 9, 2019. He was arrested early in the morning on November 27, 2019, at his mother’s home.
Brown, 22, is a highly trained Marine but left his post in mid-October. Officials said Brown left Camp Lejeune in North Carolina without permission and has since been classified as a military deserter.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Michael Alexander Brown Was Alone At His Mother’s Home When Officials Took Him Into Custody
After an exhaustive manhunt that stretched across three states, officials captured Michael Alexander Brown “without incident” around 8 a.m. on November 27, back at the location where the murder took place. Brown was found at his mother’s home in Hardy, Virginia.
The U.S. Marshals Service said he was alone in the home. Investigators have not elaborated on what prompted them to refocus the search back in Hardy or how long they believe Brown may have been at his mother’s house.
Officials said Brown would be booked into the Western Virginia Regional Jail. It was not immediately clear when he will appear in a courtroom to face charges.
2. Michael Brown Was Added to the FBI’s Most Wanted List After Deputies Said He Murdered His Mother’s Boyfriend
Investigators have accused Michael Alexander Brown of murdering his mother’s boyfriend, but have not yet speculated as to a possible motive. The victim, Rodney Brown, was found gunned down in his home in Hardy, Virginia, around noon on November 9.
Michael Brown’s mother called the police after finding her boyfriend’s body. The Marine Corps Times reported that Brown’s mother told investigators that she believed her son had been the shooter.
Michael Brown is facing charges of second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. The FBI added him to its list of Most Wanted fugitives while he remained on the run.
3. Deputies Had Warned During the Search That Brown Was Believed to Be Armed With a High-Powered Rifle But He Was Arrested Without Incident
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office warned that Michael Brown was believed to have been armed with a high-powered rifle and could have had access to other powerful weapons. But as officials noted in a news conference on November 27, Brown was arrested “without incident” and no one was hurt during the search for him.
During the manhunt, investigators had said that Brown was comfortable living out in the wilderness and that familiarity may have helped him to evade capture. The sheriff’s office noted in a press release that Brown “has been known to live in the woods and frequent National Parks and National Forest.”
The U.S. Marshals Service says that investigators received nearly 300 tips from 8 states amid the manhunt.
4. FBI: Brown Was Believed to Have Returned to Virginia After Briefly Fleeing the Area
Michael Alexander Brown reportedly changed vehicles at least three times after fleeing from Hardy, Virginia. Deputies initially said Brown was believed to be driving a white Cadillac. Within a few hours of the murder, officials said that Brown switched to a black 2008 Lincoln Town car. Brown was seen on surveillance footage in a convenience store and deputies said he left in the black vehicle.
Three days later, on November 12, U.S. Marshals followed a lead that Brown was driving a recreational vehicle and pulling a trailer behind it. Investigators found the trailer abandoned on the side of a road in Clarendon County, South Carolina. The Lincoln Town car was inside the trailer.
On November 14, investigators located the RV in Roanoke, Virginia, which is located just a few miles away from the scene of the murder in Hardy. The Marine Corps Times reported that officials checked the vehicle for explosives and demolished it.
The search at that point honed in on Roanoke, Virginia. Police said they received a tip that Brown had been seen tapping at a window at his grandmother’s house. Police responded to the scene but did not find Brown. Schools in the area were shut down that day amid the manhunt.
5. Michael Brown Was a Combat Engineer In the Marine Corps Before Deserting
Michael Alexander Brown served as a combat engineer in the Marine Corps. The job includes employing military explosives or reducing explosive hazards, which explains why investigators checked Brown’s RV for explosives after finding it in Roanoke, Virginia.
Brown was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. But he left the base in mid-October, seemingly without any warning. He was initially marked down as having had an “unauthorized absence.” But following the news of the murder in Hardy, Brown was reclassified as a deserter.
Michael Alexander Brown is not without his supporters. A private group was created on Facebook as a forum to question the accusations against Brown. The page description reads, “anyone who supports Michael Brown and believes he is innocent and wants to wish him well in this chaos here is a place to do that not sure if hell see it but …Marine you did well now keep up the safe travels well be praying for you.”