How a ‘concerned citizen’ tip ended the Facebook murder suspect manhunt

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ERIE, Pa. — Pennsylvania State Police thanked the person who tipped them off that Facebook murder suspect Steve Stephens was in Erie on Tuesday.

At a press conference, police referred to the person as a “concerned citizen,” and would not confirm if it was a McDonald’s employee. They also could not say if the person would be eligible for the $50,000 reward.

According to WICU, an employee at a McDonald’s restaurant believed she recognized Stephens as he came through the drive-thru and alerted the supervisor and owner.

Owner Thomas DuCharme, Jr. said he went to the drive-thru window and was trying to stall the suspect; at the same time, an employee called Pennsylvania State Police. Stephens then drove away.

DuCharme released the following statement to FOX 8 Tuesday evening:

“I’m thankful for the quick actions of my crew members to identify the suspect and commend the authorities for their efforts in informing the public of this individual. The entire McDonald’s family’s thoughts and prayers are with the families affected by this tragic situation.”

Joe Barnes was at that McDonald’s restaurant on Buffalo when he spotted a white Ford Fusion in the parking lot. With many rumored sightings, Barnes thought nothing of it. He told us he had no idea just a short time later, Stephens would be dead.

State police said Stevens killed himself after a brief chase.

Troopers were on alert for Stevens because police said they were aware he was a gambler and may be near the casino. They are investigating how long he was in Erie.

At an earlier press conference in Cleveland after the news broke, Police Chief Calvin Williams said that at just after 11 a.m., Pennsylvania State Police received a tip that Stephens’ vehicle was seen in a McDonald’s parking lot near Erie, Pa.

The 37-year-old was wanted after police said he killed 74-year-old Robert Godwin, Sr. in Cleveland on Sunday, then posted video of the horrific crime to Facebook.

**Continuing coverage, here**

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