Hunt for Harold Knight: Shopping for a day trip

LEFT: An updated photo of Harold Knight with a dyed mustache. (Courtesy: Allegan County Sheriff's Office) RIGHT: A photo of Knight before changing his appearance.

RANGELEY, MAINE (WOOD) — Harold “Butch” Knight’s grocery list didn’t exactly scream fugitive.

Three days after calling police in Allegan County to report the death of his wife, the 66-year-old man was in the IGA grovecy store in Rangeley, Maine, about 1,100 miles away.

Knight was wearing camouflage, a big hat and had already dyed his mustache — an obvious dye job — when he shopped at the town’s only grocery store. He spent about $65 in cash.

“Some sandwiches, a bottle of liquor — I think it was vodka or something — chips, snacks, soda,” grocery manager Stephen Grant told 24 Hour News 8 on Thursday.

“It wasn’t like canned food that he could keep for quite a while,” he continued. “It sounded like it was more day-tripper; that’s what day-trippers kind of buy.”

That was the afternoon of Jan. 16 — which helps fill in the timeline.

An undated courtesy photo of Sara Knight.
(An undated courtesy photo of Sara Knight.)

It started on Jan. 13, when police found the body of his wife Sara Knight, 48, in their home in Fennville. She had been strangled. He had called police that day to report the death and said he was leaving the country.

Two days after that, on Jan. 15, he checked into a motel in Rangeley, where he dyed his mustache.

He dumped his wife’s Subaru Forester the day after that at a Walmart 40 miles south of Rangeley. U.S. Marshals told 24 Hour News 8 they think he then hitchhiked back to Rangeley and that he hasn’t gotten any help.

He stayed three more days in the motel in Rangeley before checking out on Jan. 19. That is the last confirmed sighting, agents said.

Local police said there was a possible sighting outside Rangeley in early February — a man walking along the road at night during a snowstorm, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

Despite that, police continue to focus on Rangeley. They have been in and out of the IGA for a couple weeks; most recently just two days ago.

“They’re a couple weeks behind him I think,” the IGA manager said. “They didn’t sound overly optimistic either of finding him.”

Local snowmobile shops said federal agents and other officers have been visiting them in recent days, warning them that Knight could try to escape the area by snowmobile — if he’s still around at all. They visited Henry Colby’s Moose Loop shop on Tuesday, “asking if anyone had approached me for buying a snowmobile with cash or renting with cash.” They showed him a photograph of Knight.

The snowmobile trail system in Maine is almost endless, Colby said.

“You can go to Canada, you can go all the way to southern Maine,” he said. “The trail system is such that you can go anywhere in the state. You can go to New Hampshire.”

Rangeley is surrounded by mountains and forests and is just 15 miles from the Canadian border.

Knight is familiar with this area. He and his wife lived 70 miles to the south in Turner, Maine, before moving to Michigan. At one snowmobile shop in town, his wife’s name in their computer system, showing she had been in Rangeley in March 2014.

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