Fugitives arrested in Arizona

Jill Dunn | August 20, 2010

Law enforcement arrested an Arizona prison escapee and his accomplice Aug. 19, following an Interpol worldwide alert.
 
John Charles McCluskey, 45, and accomplice Casslyn Welch, 44, were taken into custody after being caught at an Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest campground. An unidentified forest ranger in the park, located near the Arizona-New Mexico border, tipped off law enforcement, according to published reports.
 
It is believed Welch helped McCluskey and two other inmates escaped from a private Arizona prison July 31. Law enforcement caught the other inmates, but McCluskey, accompanied by Welch, remained on the loose, according to the U.S. Marshal Service,
 
Welch and McCluskey are experienced over-the-road truckers, marshals said. McCluskey had been serving a 15-year sentence for attempted murder, while Welch only had a traffic violation on her record.
 
Welch, McCluskey and another escapee stole a tractor-trailer July 31 near Kingman, 10 miles east of the Arizona State Prison-Kingman where they escaped. The hi-jackers used handguns, but five hours later, released the two male drivers and left their truck in Flagstaff.

New Mexico law enforcement linked the escapees to an elderly couple murdered at a Santa Rosa campground a few days ago, according to U.S. marshals. Their camper had been set on fire and was discovered in Santa Rosa, while their truck was found abandoned 120 miles away in Albuquerque.
 
Recently, law enforcement arrested McCluskey’s mother, at her residence and workplace at a Jake’s Corner, Ariz. general store. Washburn provided money and aid in the flight of the three escapes, they said.
 
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Aug. 19 a through investigation is being conducted into the escape at the privately run prison. 
 
Interpol had issued a worldwide alert for McCluskey and Welch on Aug. 12 and the two were featured on a recent episode of Fox TV’s “America’s Most Wanted.”


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