A Pennsylvania fugitive who had been being tracked by authorities for nearly four days was found dead yesterday in Howard County, where police said he shot himself in the head.

The body of Michael K. Voland Sr., 45, was found about 6:30 a.m. in a parking turnoff 20 feet from Daniels Road in Patapsco Valley State Park, according to Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley. Voland died of a gunshot wound to the head, Shipley said, and police found a .44-caliber rifle near his body.

The manhunt started about 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Union Township, Pa., a quarter-mile from the Maryland border, when two Pennsylvania state troopers served a court order at Voland's home.

Voland and his wife, Suzanne, had a history of fights and had split up, according to charging documents in Pennsylvania. The court's protective order involved confiscating guns from Voland, who was an avid hunter and outdoorsman, and cited his prior run-ins with the law in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

When the Pennsylvania troopers arrived at Voland's house, he was sitting in his 1987 Chevrolet pickup with a .44-caliber rifle and a handgun, authorities said. Voland told the troopers that he did not trust them, that he thought they were going to "jump him," according to court documents.

He then sped down the driveway in his truck, almost running over one of the troopers.

Voland led police on a chase out of Pennsylvania and into Carroll County, where Maryland State Police joined in, according to Shipley. On Route 97, Shipley said, Voland abandoned his truck in a field and took his rifle and handgun with him.

Voland fled on foot, firing several shots, "possibly at the state police," Shipley said.

Since Thursday night, authorities -- including police from Howard, Carroll and Baltimore counties -- had been looking for Voland.

A flier by Baltimore Metro Crime Stoppers warned: "He says he will not be taken alive and may attempt to take hostages."

But this danger never materialized, even when he ran into people.

"We believe he had at least a couple of encounters with citizens during his flight," Shipley said, "and at no time did he make any threats or appear to harm any civilians."

Late Saturday, the search moved to Patapsco Valley State Park.

"Police knew that he was familiar with the park," Shipley said. "They found a campsite near Granite in Baltimore County [on Sunday] that Voland had been using."

Tracking teams from the state police and Maryland Natural Resources Police followed him through the woods. Shipley said that the teams were less than an hour behind Voland as of yesterday morning, when two men on their way to work spotted his body on the side of the road.

Voland had a cell phone with him when his body was found, but investigators do not know whether he placed any calls. They are investigating whether he had help evading the police.