Married murder suspects captured in Arizona after weeks on the lam

U.S. Marshals Service

They were in transit back to their home state from upstate NY when they overpowered two security officers in Blanding, Utah.

The Barksdales are suspected of slaying 72-year-old Frank Bligh (pictured) in April in Tuscon, Arizona.

Blane and Susan Barksdale were discovered hiding out at a residence inside the Tonto National Forest in central Arizona, and were taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service and the Navajo County Sheriff's Office after more than two weeks on the run, a U.S. marshal told The Washington Post.

Blane, 56, and Susan Barksdale, 59, were recaptured on Thursday after they are said to have faked an "intestinal issue" medical emergency so they could escape after their van departed from Blanding on August 26.

The married couple accused of killing a 72-year-old man and then escaping as they were being transported from NY to Arizona to face charges has been taken into custody.

From left Blane and Susan Barksdale
From left Blane and Susan Barksdale

"Persons placed on the US Marshals top 15 list are usually career criminals with histories of violence, and whose incident offenses pose a significant threat to public safety", US Marshal for the district of Arizona David Gonzales said Monday. But as a security van took the couple back to Arizona last month, they overpowered guards in Utah and escaped.

From there, each drove away in a vehicle for about 40 miles and abandoned the van near the town of St. Johns, Arizona. His house was set on fire and his auto was stolen in April.

But once the two unarmed guards opened the back door, the Barksdales attacked, he said.

The couple drove to Vernon, Arizona, where they got a Red GMC Sierra pickup truck from an acquaintance, leaving the van with the guards and other inmate locked inside, the Marshals Service said. 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.

Bligh's brother said the victim was good friends with Susan Barksdale but she had changed since meeting her new husband. Evidence found there led detectives to conclude the blaze was set.


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