EAST STROUDSBURG Pa. (Reuters) - Blood drops found by a homeowner in northeastern Pennsylvania, where police have spent five weeks searching for a sniper who killed a state trooper and wounded another, have tested negative for the main suspect in the case, police said on Monday.
Two samples were collected last Thursday at separate locations in Cresco, a Pennsylvania State Police spokesman said in an email, but only one of them turned out to be blood.
Cresco is about three miles south of Canadensis where the suspect, Eric Frein, lived with his parents until a few weeks before the Sept. 12 ambush that killed Corporal Bryon Dickson and wounded Trooper Alex Douglass outside a state police barracks in Blooming Grove.
One of the homeowners found blood droplets on the deck of a covered porch, Kelly said, but the samples tested was negative for Frein, 31, a survivalist and expert marksman who is on the FBI's Most Wanted list. Lab tests on a stain collected from the second home showed it to be a substance other than blood.
Police continue to search empty cabins and homes in the area, located in the heart of the densely forested Pocono Mountains. Vacant vacation houses are "likely locations for him to obtain what he needs," police said.
In an area near the high school that Frein attended in Paradise Township, a woman out for walk on Friday night reported seeing a man who police believe was the suspect, carrying a rifle with mud smeared on his face. It was the latest in a series of reported sightings since the massive manhunt began.
Officials on Monday beefed up security at Pocono Mountain East High School and other schools in the vicinity, said Wendy Frable, the spokeswoman for the Pocono Mountain Area School District, and some parents kept their children home.
Attendance at schools on the district's main Swiftwater campus was running at between 81 and 88 percent, she said, down from the average in the 90s.
As an added precaution, students were kept indoors and athletic practice sessions were moved off campus, she said.
Editing By Frank McGurty and Sandra Maler