Global alert issued for Arizona prison escapee

Jill Dunn | August 12, 2010

Interpol has issued a worldwide alert for a prison escapee and his accomplice who, authorities say, are former truckers who may frequent truck stops and rest areas.

On Aug. 12, U.S. marshals said they were continuing investigations in western Arkansas and Montana and other U.S. locations. John Charles McCluskey, 45, and accomplice Casslyn Welch, 44, remain at large following McCluskey’s escape from an Arizona prison. A $40,000 reward has been offered for information resulting in their capture.

They said the two are “experienced over the road semi-truck drivers” who have been known to “utilize full service truck stops, rest areas and camp grounds and may continue to frequent facilities such as these.”

Welch, McCluskey and Tracy Province, 42, who has since been re-arrested, stole a tractor-trailer July 31 near Kingman, 10 miles east of the Arizona State Prison-Kingman. The hi-jackers used handguns, but five hours later, released the two male drivers and their truck in Flagstaff.

On Aug. 11, Interpol issued an Orange Notice at the request of the National Central Bureau in Washington, D.C. The largest international police organization states its General Secretariat can issue this international alert for any act that poses a risk to public safety around the world.

Fox Channel’s “America’s Most Wanted recently aired an episode on the escapees’ alleged crimes since they fled the private medium-security prison.

U.S. marshals said McCluskey and Welch are believed still to be traveling together and are considered armed and extremely dangerous. “It is likely they are reacting, rather than taking deliberate action,” marshals said. They expect them to become more desperate as time passes, increasing the public risk.

The two are believed to be driving a 1997 Nissan Sentra that is gold, grey or tan. Welch’s only previous infraction was a traffic citation last year.

McCluskey was serving a 15-year sentence for attempted murder when he and fellow convicts Province, and Daniel Renwick, 35, jailed for murder and second-degree murder respectively, broke out July 30. Police believe Welch aided them in the escape and is McCluskey’s fiancé, according to the agency. Renwick also has been re-captured.

New Mexico law enforcement linked the escapees to an elderly couple murdered at a Santa Rosa campground a few days ago. Their camper had been set on fire and was discovered in Santa Rosa, while their truck was found abandoned 120 miles away in Albuquerque.

Law enforcement arrested Claudia Washburn, 68, who is 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 her son, Province and Welch, they said.

Officers charged Washburn with conspiracy to commit escape, hindering prosecution and facilitation to commit escape. She is being held on $250,000 bond at the Gila County Jail in Globe, Ariz.

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