MORGANTOWN — A man on the lam from a sex offender charge was rescued from a heavily wooded cliff after a three-hour ordeal the night of June 20.
A Monongalia County Sheriff’s Deputy cuffed Edward Phillips of Belington, after the Triune Halleck Volunteer Fire Department recovered him. Phillips had a warrant for his arrest by State Police in Barbour County for failure to register as a sex offender, Chief Deputy Al Kisner said.
Phillips was arrested on child pornography charges in March 2016 by State Police.
Fire Chief Josh Morgan estimated the man was stranded about 500 feet from the rail trail and 700 feet from Smithtown Road. Emergency workers accessed the man from the rail trail off of Little Falls Road, across from Goshen Road.
Volunteer firefighters received the emergency call about 8 p.m.
Two people eating dinner across the river said they heard a man yelling for help. They called 911 and went to find him before calling 911 again to make sure rescuers were coming.
Phillips claimed he was a fugitive who had been on the run for five days, Morgan said.
Rough terrain made for a slow ascent, Morgan said, as rescuers climbed above Phillips, who was sitting on a dead log between two cliffs. Upon reaching him, they secured Phillips in a harness and escorted him to safety.
Phillips was taken to J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital by Mon Health EMS. Kisner said Phillips was still in the hospital Thursday afternoon recovering from exposure.
Phillips was wearing only shorts and a pair of white New Balance shoes that a firefighter had given him.