JAY — A wanted man from Jay fled police on foot, slipped through a search perimeter and eluded tracking dogs before police called off a manhunt Friday night.

Police are not actively hunting for Michael Gatcomb, 29, who is wanted on several warrants, but they are on the lookout for him.

“Everybody knows that he’s wanted and everybody’s keeping an eye out for him,” said Sgt. Troy Young, of the Jay Police Department.

Gatcomb is wanted on charges in two counties, including domestic assault, failure to stop for an officer, criminal speed and violation of conditions of release. He is out of jail on bail after having been arrested on a charge of felony theft. 

The search for Gatcomb began when Sgt. Chad Abbott, of the Wilton Police Department, noticed that Gatcomb was a passenger in a pickup truck driving by on Route 133 near Bean’s Corner.

When Abbott and Young stopped the truck, which was driven by a woman, Gatcomb jumped out and ran across a field into a wooded area.

Abbott chased Gatcomb into the woods, while Young called for backup and attended to the driver of the truck, a female relative of Gatcomb who Young said was cooperative.

A search perimeter was established by Jay and Wilton police, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, state police and the U.S. Border Patrol; and tracking dogs successfully picked up Gatcomb’s trail. 

Despite two sightings of Gatcomb, police failed to find him during the search, which extended into the evening. 

The area where Gatcomb was last seen is heavily wooded and has a brook running through it, Young said, and it has few residences. 

Young said he thinks Gatcomb, who was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt when police saw him last, is no longer in the woods and would have had an opportunity to change his clothes by Saturday. 

Young asked that those with information concerning Gatcomb’s whereabouts call the Jay police at 897-6766.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling — 861-9287
[email protected]

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