By RYAN GORMAN
An explosive rumored motive for the man who ambushed two State Troopers earlier this month and has been hiding in the woods ever since has been shot down by authorities.
Pennsylvania State Police claim a rumored affair between suspected gunman Eric Frein's sister-in-law Melissa Frein and badly-injured trooper Alex Douglass is nothing more than a rumor.
"Through many investigative techniques, the state police have found no evidence that there was an inappropriate relationship between Tpr. Douglass and Melissa Frein," Lt. Col George Bivens said in a statement.
"We cannot assume to know what Eric Frien believes -- however, we are convinced Tpr. Douglass and Melissa Frein did not have a personal relationship," he added.
Eric Frein is also the primary suspect in the shooting death of Cpl. Bryon Dickson at the Blooming Grove State Police Barracks.
"Rumor and innuendo has no place in a law enforcement investigation," said Bivens.
Both Melissa Frein and Tpr Douglass are friends, and live less than a mile apart in Canadensis, officials said, but nothing more.
The official statement came as authorities also said they believe Eric Frein has been planning the attack for at least a couple years.
"That information is supported by a search of a computer hard drive which Frein had access to – the search of the PC indicates extensive Internet research on how to avoid police manhunts and skills related to survival," explained Bivens.
The manhunt for the accused cop killer has shifted from combing the woods to searching an abandoned resort, a place he is known to have frequented in the past, police said.
"Our teams searched the vacant Inn at Buck Hill Falls -- this property spans over 4,600 acres and more than 900,000 sq. ft. of multiple multi-level structures and underground tunnels," said Bivens. "Every inch of this private vacant resort needed to be cleared."
Authorities are also clearing caves as they find them.
"We have mentioned before the numerous places Frein may be utilizing for shelter – specifically, the caves we have found during this investigation. All of these potential hiding places need to be cleared as well," said Bivens.
Numerous reports have suggested the police have sighted Eric Frein during their searches, but he is yet to be captured. Ammunition, a rifle and cigarettes believed to be his have been recovered in the woods this week.
The surrounding town is still on edge, but Bivens has not backed down from challenging the accused killer.
"You are a coward," said Bivens. "Your actions have caused tremendous disruption for an innocent community, while you try to hide from us.
"We are not intimidated and we will not leave," Bivens added. "We have a clear mission with specific objectives – protect the community, find you, and bring you to justice."
It has been more than two weeks since Tpr. Dickson was killed.
The search remains ongoing.
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