Arizona Fugitives McCluskey and Welch Apprehended! - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Arizona Fugitives McCluskey and Welch Apprehended!

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John McCluskey and Casslyn Welch, the Arizona prison escapee and his accomplice, who are also wanted for a double murder, have been apprehended near Springerville, Arizona.

They were located at the Gabaldon campground, on the edge of the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, located between Greer and Big Lake.

We're told a Forest Ranger was responding to an unattended fire at the campground Thursday afternoon and noticed a silver car. He didn't see any people, so he got the license plate number and notified the Sheriff's Office, and the New Mexico plates came back stolen.

The vehicle was stolen from New Mexico along the same time a married couple had been killed, apparently collateral damage at the hands of McCluskey and Welch -- so authorities thought there was a good chance they had their suspects.

About a dozen law enforcement officials surrounded the campground and initiated surveillance, and just after 7 p.m., made the arrest.

According to U.S. Marshal David Gonzales, Welch had a handgun in her waistband and tried to pull it out, but she dropped her weapon when she spotted the guns trained on her.

McCluskey's firearm was in the tent, and he allegedly told responding authorities that if he had his gun on him, he would've killed all the officers and that he should've killed the Forest Ranger when he had the chance.

McCluskey and Welch, who are engaged and also cousins, were positively identified and the national manhunt is over. The two thought of themselves as the modern day Bonnie and Clyde.

The feared gunfight was avoided, and they now face a multitude of charges.

Authorities had been focusing their search efforts in the northern United States, near the Canada border, but it turns out they were hiding out just 300-some miles from where McCluskey and two other inmates broke out of a medium security prison, with Welch's alleged help, on July 30.

Fellow escapees and convicted killers Daniel Renwick and Tracy Province were already caught. Renwick was captured and returned to custody on August 1 after a car chase and shootout with police in Rifle, Colo., and Province was apprehended without incident August 9 outside a church in Meeteetse, Wyo..

Forensic evidence has implicated McCluskey and Welch in the two New Mexico murders.

McCluskey and Welch have been transported to the Apache County Jail, and the U.S. Marshal's Office will transport them Friday morning.

"We want to tie them to as many crimes as we can," said Marshal Gonzales.

 

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