Husband-and-wife murder suspects who overpowered their guards as they were being extradited from New York to Arizona and then managed to elude the law for weeks have finally run out of road.
Blane Barksdale, 56 and his wife, Susan, 59, were taken into custody Wednesday evening. The Navajo County (Ariz.) Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook that it assisted the U.S. Marshals Service and that the Barksdales were apprehended “without incident.”
The couple escaped custody on Aug. 26 en route to Arizona, where they face charges including first-degree murder in connection with the death of a 72-year-old Arizona man.
The Marshals Service says the couple “overpowered and kidnapped” two security officers and another prisoner near Blanding, Utah, about 50 miles from the Utah-Arizona border. Blane Barksdale is 6-foot-5 and weighs about 260 pounds, while Susan Barksdale is 5-foot-7 and 120 pounds.
The couple drove the prison transport vehicle to Vernon, Ariz., where they got a pickup truck provided by an acquaintance, according to officials. Then they “abandoned the locked prison van with the three occupants inside.”
They were spotted driving a red GMC Sierra truck with an Arizona license plate before they seemingly vanished.
On Monday, the Marshals Service sent an alert saying the search for the couple had “intensified” and that Blane Barksdale had been added to its 15 Most Wanted List. The Marshals offered a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading directly to his arrest. A reward for up to $10,000 was offered for information on Susan Barksdale.
The Barksdales are suspected of killing a man named Frank Bligh in Tucson, Ariz. Marshals say Bligh has been missing since his home burned down April 16. Investigators determined the fire was set intentionally and discovered that more than 100 firearms had been stolen from the residence.
Evidence prompted authorities to issue homicide arrest warrants for the couple.
They also are facing charges of first-degree burglary, arson of an occupied structure, criminal damage and auto theft.