US Marshals Service: Fugitive murder suspects captured

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US Marshals Service: Fugitive murder suspects captured
FILE - These undated file booking photos provided by the Tucson Police Department show 56-year-old Blake Barksdale, left, and his 59-year-old wife Susan Barksdale. Authorities say the husband and wife fugitives on the run for over two weeks in the killing of an Arizona man have been captured. The U.S. Marshals Service announced Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 that 56-year-old Blane Barksdale and 59-year-old Susan Barksdale are in custody. (Tucson Police Department via AP, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — Husband and wife fugitives on the run for over two weeks in the killing of an Arizona man have been captured, authorities announced.

The U.S. Marshals Service announced Wednesday night that Blane and Susan Barksdale were in custody but provided no details. David Gonzales, the U.S. marshal for Arizona, did not immediately return a call from the Associated Press.

KNXV-TV and azfamily.com reported the couple was apprehended Wednesday night at a home in Punkin Center, a small rural community about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of Phoenix.

The Barksdales escaped Aug. 26 while being transported from upstate New York to Tucson, Arizona, to face charges in the April death of a 72-year-old man.

Authorities have said the couple overpowered two private security guards in the transport van they were traveling in after Susan Barksdale faked a medical emergency while they were in Utah. They were last seen in northeastern Arizona.

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.

He said the Barksdales tied up the guards, who were unarmed, with shoe laces. They also took a key to remove their own waist restraints.

From there, the Barksdales drove the van into Arizona. Once they got to the area of St. Johns, they obtained a friend’s red GMC Sierra pickup truck. The couple then drove both vehicles to a remote area outside of town and abandoned the van, Gonzales said.

It took the guards more than two hours to free themselves. By the time authorities reached the guards, the couple had been gone for several hours. An uninvolved prisoner was also found in the van with the guards.

For about a week after the escapes, digital highway signs displayed a message about the escapees and the pickup. Authorities took down the message after concluding that the couple likely wasn’t using the pickup at that point.

A press conference was scheduled by the Marshals’ office later Thursday morning in Phoenix to discuss the case.