Husband-and-wife murder suspects who overpowered two guards to escape custody have been captured after more than two weeks on the run, the U.S. Marshals Service said late Wednesday.
They were considered armed and unsafe after breaking free from two guards who were taking them from upstate NY to Tucson, Arizona to face murder charges over the killing of an elderly Vietnam veteran and burning of his house last April. They then abandoned the van with the three locked inside and somehow evaded a sweeping manhunt conducted by multiple agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the report said. "More information about the arrest will be released tomorrow morning during a joint news conference with the US Marshall's". They were found in Henrietta, New York, a suburb of Rochester, and arrested without incident on May 24.
Authorities said earlier this week that the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist prison gang, and the Hells Angels motorcycle gang may have been assisting the couple. His house was set on fire and his auto was stolen in April.
In the small town of Blanding, Utah, Susan Barksdale, 59, pretended she was having "intestinal issues" and badly needed to go to the bathroom, U.S. Marshal David Gonzales said. They don't think the couple made it to Mexico, KOLD says. The guards were tied up and alerted authorities once they broke free.
Video provided by Arizona DPS shows the moment that officers arrested Blane Barksdale.
The male and female guards weren't physically injured but the Barksdales used shoelaces to bind them and then put them in the back of the van with a third inmate, authorities say.
Police are now working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to prosecute individuals who helped or harbored the Barksdales, Gonzales said. There, the couple pulled up to an acquaintance's house and took a red GMC Sierra pickup truck. They then abandoned the van with their three prisoners inside.
The Barksdales have been charged with first-degree murder by Tucson police in the death of Frank Bligh, 72, who hasn't been seen since fire consumed his home April 16.