Escaped Fugitives captured near Roosevelt Lake


Blane and Susan Barksdale have been located and taken into custody in Arizona, per the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office.

The northeastern Arizona department assisted the U.S. Marshals Service in capturing the fugitives Wednesday evening at a home near Roosevelt Lake.

The Gila County Sheriff’s Office also assisted in the capture in the Tonto Basin area.

According to David Gonzales, of the Marshals District of Arizona, the couple was found in Punkin Center, about 88 miles from downtown Phoenix.

Authorities searched by air and land for any sign of the couple or pickup, made warrant sweeps, property searches and arrests.

To ensure authorities didn’t suffer from tunnel vision, they expanded the search from California to Texas in recent days.

One of the first places law enforcement swarmed was the property the Barksdales own near Vernon, about 20 miles east of Show Low.

A SWAT team stormed the property a month ago or more, some time before the couple hijacked the van.

Gonzales said at a press conference later in the day that Susan came out of the home when authorities arrived and was sobbing.

He said Blane put up a struggle and was shocked with a Taser before marshals were able to subdue him.

The marshal said he will now work with the FBI to go after the people who allegedly helped the couple evade police.

Blane, 56, was added to the federal agency’s 15 most wanted list and had increased the reward for his capture from $10,000 to $25,000 earlier this week.

The reward for the arrest of his wife, Susan, 59, remained $10,000.

The couple had evaded police since Aug. 26, when they overpowered two guards in Utah and took control of a prison transport van that was delivering them to Tucson.

See FUGITIVES, A3

FUGITIVES continued from A1

The Barksdales are the primary suspects in the April death of a 72-year-old Tucson man. In May, they were arrested in upstate New York.

A private transport company hired by the Pima County Sheriff’s Office was tasked with bringing the Barksdales back to southern Arizona.

Susan pretended to have an “intestinal issue” to get the van to pull over near Blanding, Utah.

The guards reportedly were unarmed and did not feel the need to take a handgun that was inside a locked box. But the Barksdales charged at the guards once the rear door was opened, he said. The male and female guards weren’t physically injured, but the Barksdales used shoelaces to bind them and then put them in the back with a third inmate. They also took a key to free themselves of a waist restraint.

The Barksdales drove the van to the town of Vernon, Arizona, where they met up with a friend who gave them access to his pickup truck.

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

Gonzales said at the press conference the location of the pickup truck is still unknown.

The Pima County Sheriff’s Office announced last month it had suspended use of the Kansas-based transport company, Security Transport Services.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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