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Search for Pa. man charged in slayings widens to Md., W.Va.

August 04, 2006|by DON AINES

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania State Police said the search for suspected killer Curtis Eugene Burkett was expanding to other states and that the truck he was last seen in might have been repainted.

At least three unmarked police cruisers were stationed near or patrolling the roads by the Montgomery Brethren in Christ Church where a memorial service was held Thursday afternoon for Cathy Burkett, 39, who was shot several times last Friday at her home on Garnes Road in Montgomery Township.

Police on Thursday updated a news release on Curtis Burkett, who is charged with two counts of criminal homicide in the death of his estranged wife and William Zimmerman, 50, his neighbor at the Longview Campground.

Burkett was last seen driving a 1980s Ford F-150 pickup with "Bear Man" on the bug shield and "Harley-Davidson" possibly painted on the side. Police Thursday said "updated information on the Ford truck is that it may have a broken mirror on the driver's side" and that it might have since been repainted. What the new color might be is not known, police said.

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The release did not indicate where that information came from and the investigating officers were not available Thursday afternoon.

Police said the search area has been broadened to include Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania counties to the west of Franklin County. Law enforcement agencies in those states and counties have been assisting police with leads and information, police said.

Burkett has remained at large since 7:30 p.m. Friday when he was last seen driving the pickup truck away from Longview Campground. Witnesses told police they saw him shoot Zimmerman once in the chest with a rifle as Zimmerman sat in the cab of another truck.

Cathy Burkett's body was discovered by her oldest son, police said. Winchester .30-30 shell casings were found at both crime scenes, police said.

Burkett, 41, is 6 feet tall and approximately 230 pounds with brown shoulder-length hair and possibly a goatee, police said. He also is hearing impaired, police said.

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