A couple extradited all over the country to be charged with murder would have caused a medical emergency so that they could escape and flee to Arizona.
Blane Barksdale, 56, and his wife, Susan Barksdale, 59, have been on the run since they managed to escape from a jail after leaving Monday from Blanding, Utah.
Authorities say that Susan pretended to have a bowel problem in the back of the privately operated van and forced the two guards to stop.
& # 39; It was compelling enough that they felt the need to stop, & # 39; said David Gonzales, the American marshal for Arizona, about Susan's so-called medical emergency.
Blane Barksdale, 56, and his wife, Susan Barksdale, 59, have been on the run since they managed to escape from a prison van after it left Blanding, Utah on Monday.
The guards, a man and a woman, were unarmed and did not need a gun that was in a sealed box when they opened the rear compartment of the van.
The couple stormed the guards as soon as the door was opened, Gonzales said.
The male and female guards were not physically injured, but the Barksdales used laces to tie them and then put them in the back of the van with a third prisoner.
They also took a key to free themselves from a hip belt.
Gonzales said that although Blane & # 39; is not a big boy & # 39 ;, he & # 39; very impressive & # 39; could be.
& # 39; I don't think these two guards were physically and emotionally equipped with the experience needed for these types of individuals, & # 39; said Gonzales.
The Barksdales brought the van to the city of Vernon, Arizona, where they met a friend who gave them access to his red GMC pickup.
The friend has not been charged but law enforcement continues to ask him questions about his involvement.
From there they each drove about 40 miles in a vehicle and left the van near the city of St. Johns, Arizona.
The Barksdales were initially detained on May 24 near Rochester, New York, on suspicion of first-degree murder and other crimes related to the death in April of a 72-year-old man in Tucson, Arizona
The Marshals Service on Wednesday offered a reward of $ 20,000 – $ 10,000 for each suspect – for information that led to their arrest
The couple then left with the little money the guards had in their wallets.
Gonzales said they were probably unaware of the gun that was still in the box.
The guards and the third prisoner were left behind.
& # 39; This other prisoner, he didn't want to be part of this deal. He was very forthcoming, & Gonzales said.
The Barksdales are suspected of killing 72-year-old Frank Bligh (photo) in Tuscon, Arizona in April. Although the body of Bligh has not yet been found, indications in his car indicate that he is probably dead
It took the guards two to three hours to break free and eventually they kicked some windows off the van.
By the time the authorities reached the area, the Barksdales had disappeared for several hours. The third prisoner has since been taken to his intended destination – a prison in southern Arizona.
The Barksdales were initially detained on May 24 near Rochester, New York, on suspicion of first-degree murder and other crimes related to the death of a 72-year-old man in Tucson in April.
Tucson police say a fire followed by an explosion broke into Frank Bligh's home before his car was found abandoned the next day.
Although his body was not found, researchers say there was evidence in the car that he was probably dead.
The Barksdales were later identified as suspects.
Gonzales said multiple agencies, including the FBI and the Tucson police, are interviewing people from Arizona to New York.
The Marshals Service on Wednesday offered a reward of $ 20,000 – $ 10,000 for each suspect – for information that led to their arrest.
Tucson police say a fire followed by an explosion broke into Frank Bligh's home before his car was found abandoned the next day. The Barksdales were later identified as suspects
He believes they are somewhere in the southwest, possibly Arizona or New Mexico. He also thinks they have probably shed their prison uniforms since then.
& # 39; In any crime or situation like this, someone knows something. Sometimes a reward can be that little push to call us, & said Gonzales.
Gonzales said that Blane has a criminal history and his arms are covered with tattoos, including swastikas. He served two prison sentences, according to online data. He spent nearly eight years in 1984 in Arizona prisons for theft and drug convictions. He was released in January 1993.
He was also sentenced to 10 years in prison for being convicted of federal marijuana possession in 2003 in Taylor County, Kentucky, and released in early 2012, according to data.
In a letter to the Kentucky judge, Blane said he was grateful he didn't get a heavier sentence.
& # 39; Sir, you will never regret giving us this second chance, & # 39; he said in the handwritten letter.
After his release, he married Susan in December 2013.
Officials in Pima County, where Tucson is based, announced Wednesday that they would suspend the use of the transportation company, Security Transport Services, pending an assessment of the escape.
A spokeswoman for the company based in Topeka, Kansas did not immediately return a message on Thursday asking for comments.
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