AP

Tip leads to arrest of 2 who escaped prison van in Utah last month

Sep 12, 2019, 3:53 PM | Updated: 3:54 pm
David Gonzales, U.S. Marshal for Arizona, speaks about the capture of husband and wife fugitives on...
David Gonzales, U.S. Marshal for Arizona, speaks about the capture of husband and wife fugitives on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at the Sandra Day O'Connor Federal Courthouse in Phoenix. Blane and Susan Barksdale, who have been on the run for over two weeks, were taken into custody Wednesday in a rural community about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of Phoenix. (AP Photo/Terry Tang)
(AP Photo/Terry Tang)

PHOENIX (AP) — A tip pointing to a remote Arizona community led to the end of a more than two-week-long manhunt for a couple who overpowered their guards and escaped a prison transport van in Utah that was bringing them across the country to face charges in a man’s killing, federal authorities said Thursday.

About 50 officers from multiple agencies surrounded a house 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of Phoenix where Blane and Susan Barksdale stayed, said David Gonzales, the U.S. marshal for Arizona.

The homeowner was the first to come out Wednesday, followed by a “sobbing” Susan Barksdale, Gonzales told reporters in Phoenix. The 59-year-old surrendered and confirmed that her husband was inside.

A stun gun used against “verbally abusive” suspect

Blane Barksdale, 56, initially refused to leave the home, and when he did emerge, he was “verbally abusive,” authorities said. Officers subdued him with a stun gun, then he became cooperative, said Van Bayless, U.S. marshal’s assistant chief deputy for Arizona.

“On the way out, he told a trooper and myself: ‘Be safe out there. It’s dangerous,'” Bayless said.

The couple will be taken south to Tucson to appear in court later Thursday. They will likely face federal kidnapping charges for their escape, authorities said.

Police: the suspects got help

Officials believe at least three or four people helped the couple during their time on the run. The Barksdales were wearing clean clothes and had to have gotten a ride to the remote area, Gonzales said.

He did not identify the owner of the home where they were staying but said that person had served time for drug-related offenses and was on federal probation.

The Utah connection

The Barksdales escaped Aug. 26 in Utah while being brought from upstate New York to Tucson to face charges in the April death of a 72-year-old man. Authorities said the couple overpowered two private security guards in the transport van after Susan Barksdale faked a medical emergency.

Gonzales previously told The Associated Press that the couple tied up the unarmed guards with shoelaces and took a key to remove their own waist restraints. A third prisoner was present but not involved.

From there, the Barksdales drove the van with the three in the back into Arizona. Once they got to the middle of the state, around the tiny town of St. Johns, they picked up a friend’s red GMC Sierra pickup truck. The couple drove both vehicles to a remote area outside 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.

For about a week after the escape, digital highway signs displayed a message about the fugitives and the pickup. Authorities took down the message after concluding the couple likely weren’t using the truck anymore.

___
Associated Press writer Paul Davenport in Phoenix contributed to this report.

Today’s Top Stories

AP

Twitter might get bought by Elon Musk after all. Twitter screen shown on phone...
TOM KRISHER, MATT O'BRIEN and RANDALL CHASE Associated Press

Musk offers to end legal fight, pay $44B to buy Twitter

The offer comes just two weeks before the Twitter lawsuit seeking to force Musk to go through with the deal goes to trial in Delaware Chancery Court.
17 hours ago
supreme court pictured, its new term has started and will hear new cases...
The Associated Press

Supreme Court’s top cases for new term, new Justice Jackson

Already the Supreme Court has said it will decide cases on a range of major issues including affirmative action, voting rights and the rights of LGBTQ people.
2 days ago
TikTok shown on a phone. TikTok is proving influential in poliitics...
DAVID KLEPPER Associated Press

TikTok politics: Candidates turn to it ‘for better or worse’

TikTok isn't just about viral dance challenges anymore, but also a place to shop, learn about beauty, fashion or even politics.
5 days ago
Damage from Hurricane Ian...
ADRIANA GOMEZ-LICON Associated Press

Ian returns to hurricane status, meanwhile floods trap many in Florida

Hours after weakening to a tropical depression while crossing the Florida peninsula, Ian regained hurricane strength Thursday evening after emerging over the Atlantic Ocean.
6 days ago
An uprooted tree, toppled by strong winds from the outer bands of Hurricane Ian, rests in a parking...
CURT ANDERSON Associated Press

Ian makes landfall in southwest Florida as Category 4 storm

About 2.5 million people had been ordered to evacuate the area before the storm hit the coast on Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph (241 kph).
7 days ago
The White House to ask for less money to fund border wall...
ACACIA CORONADO and GISELA SALOMON Associated Press

Increase in Venezuelan migration is felt across US

Last month, Venezuelans surpassed Guatemalans and Hondurans to become the second-largest nationality stopped at the U.S. border after Mexicans.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Tip leads to arrest of 2 who escaped prison van in Utah last month