Authorities expand search for armed, on-the-run soldier in Otsego County

By WKTV News

WEST WINFIELD, N.Y. (WKTV) - Authorities have expanded their search for an on-the-run soldier that law enforcement are saying is "armed and dangerous" and loose in Otsego County.

As the search continues, more details about the man in question are becoming available.

Russel Marcum, 20, is a soldier at Fort Drum, and representatives with the Army Base say he's fairly new to the armed forces. He joined the Army in August 2010 and came to Fort Drum in January 2011, and was then deployed to Afghanistan. A member of the 10th Mountain Division First Brigade Combat Team, he returned to Fort Drum in March.

State Police said Marcum was charged in a Labor Day weekend burglary in Jefferson County. State Police say he faces burglary and grand larceny changes stemming from a break in to self-service storage lockers in Watertown. He was transferred to military custody, where he attacked another soldier and escaped. State Police Captain Francis Coots said Marcum gained access to a car and began a high speed chase that began in Jefferson County, traveled through Madison County and ended in Otsego County, where authorities say they disabled his vehicle using spike strips between Sangerfield and Richfield. Marcum then abandoned the car and took off into a swampy area.

A search helicopter was being utilized from the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department to shed light into the area throughout the night, but the military is not involved in the search, according to State Police.

Captain Coots said Marcum has been calling friends and family threatening to commit suicide and that authorities are trying to take him into custody for his own protection. Family members say Marcum told them that he wouldn't be taken alive. They say he is distraught about the burglary arrest.

New York State Police Troop C and Troop D were involved in the search along with Sheriff's Deputies from Oneida, Otsego and Herkimer Counties. Authorities added that they have not send out canine units until they specify the location of the suspect using the helicopter.

Late Friday morning, authorities said they believed Marcum was moving southeast and were expanding their search beyond the area of Richfield where they had been for most of the morning. A Command Post that had been set up along Route 20 in Richfield was being moved to West Winfield to afford larger space.

The Mount Markham School District says it is keeping students inside due to the manhunt. School officials say students won't be going out for Physical Education or lunch Friday, but the school day will continue as normal and dismissal will be at the usual times.

Richfield Springs Central School District said they were doing the same.

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