Tuesday, 17 September, 2019

Fugitive married murder suspects recaptured in Arizona

Blake and Susan Barksdale Husband-wife Arizona murder suspects nabbed after three-week manhunt; had 'overpowered' guards in Utah: report
Patty Aguilar | 12 September, 2019, 19:59

The Navajo County, Arizona, sheriff's office said in a statement that the Barksdales were arrested without incident and that the sheriff's office assisted the marshals service in the capture.

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. Once the U.S. Marshals Service tracked down the couple and arrested them in NY, a private security contractor was hired to bring them back to Tucson. The couple overpowered two guards, tied them up and put them in the back of the van with a third prisoner, who wasn't involved. After ditching the van, the couple drove off in the pickup truck, according to Gonzales.

The reward for Blane Barksdale, called a "career criminal" by authorities, had increased to $25,000 with his addition to the 15 Most Wanted List, officials said earlier this week. "More information about the arrest will be released tomorrow morning during a joint news conference with the US Marshall's".

Gonzales previously told The Associated Press that after Susan Barksdale, 59, faked the medical emergency, the guards pulled over the transport van and were overpowered by the couple as soon as they opened the back compartment. Police said they may have stolen a cache of almost 100 guns before setting fire to his house, causing an explosion.

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From there, each drove away in a vehicle for about 40 miles and abandoned the van near the town of St. Johns, Arizona.

But the Barksdales had fled the state, sparking a nationwide search.

Neither of the guards was hurt, but they were bound with shoelaces, Gonzales said. Based on tips they had received, the marshals believed the Barksdales were hiding out somewhere east of Snowflake, Ariz., an isolated enclave where dozens have gone to live off the grid, some of whom believe they suffer from environmental illnesses that make it impossible for them to live in populated areas among pollution and technology.

The Barksdales were arrested in upstate NY in May following a nationwide manhunt, officials said.

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