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L.E. Forest Ranger Hailed as Hero for Fugitive Capture

L.E. Forest Ranger Hailed as Hero for Fugitive Capture

In this image provided by the U.S. Marshals Service fugitive John McCluskey is shown being taken into custody Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010 by U.S. Marshals in eastern Arizona. [AP]

Associated Press

August 20, 2010

PHOENIX — After nearly three weeks on the run, an escaped state prison inmate and his fiancee who were targets of an intense nationwide manhunt were captured Thursday at an Arizona campground after an alert forest ranger spotted the suspicious couple, along with their stolen vehicle hidden in the trees.

John McCluskey, 45, and Casslyn Welch, 44, who also is the inmate’s cousin, were taken into custody by several law enforcement officers about 7:15 p.m. at a campsite at the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in eastern Arizona. Welch at first wielded a weapon, but dropped it when she saw she was outgunned by a SWAT team, said David Gonzales, U.S. marshal for Arizona.

McCluskey was in a nearby sleeping bag and taken into custody without incident. Other firearms were found at the campsite, and authorities said that McCluskely expressed regret at not having killed the U.S. Forest Service ranger who led to their capture.

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U.S. Marshal for Arizona David Gonzales, addresses the media to announce the capture of escaped Arizona fugitive John McCluskey and his fiancee Casslyn Welch [AP]

“The nightmare is over, but it is still continuing. There’s a lot more for law enforcement to do,” Gonzales said, referring to investigations into crimes the pair may have committed while on the road, including the possible slaying of a couple in New Mexico.

“We want to tie them to as many crimes as we can,” Gonzales said. “We want to ensure that the New Mexico murders are looked at carefully, working with those agencies. And if there are any more crimes that were committed while they were out, we want to make sure we tie those to them.”

Said Arizona Corrections Department Director Charles Ryan, “I hope the citizens of Arizona and the nation can rest easier this evening.”

Corrections officials have said that Welch helped McCluskey and inmates Tracy Province and Daniel Renwick escape July 30 from a private prison facility near Kingman by cutting through a security fence, setting off a massive multistate search.

Renwick was recaptured in Rifle, Colo., on Aug. 1, and Province was found in Meeteetse, Wyo., on Aug. 9. The last confirmed sighting of McCluskey and Welch — two of the most wanted fugitives in America — was on Aug. 6 in Billings, Mont.


Renwick and Province were serving time for murder. McCluskey was serving a 15-year prison term for attempted second-degree murder, aggravated assault and discharge of a firearm.

Province, McCluskey and Welch have been linked to the slayings of Greg and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, Okla., couple whose burned bodies were found in a travel trailer Aug. 4 on a remote ranch near Santa Rosa, N.M. They had been traveling to Colorado on an annual camping trip.

Officials said the stolen car found Thursday at the campsite had New Mexico license plates.

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+46
  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50

    Whalewatcher

    about 4 years ago

    11226 Comments

    If two people ever needed to go away for life, it's these two. Pretty obvious the "for-profit" prisons aren't cutting the mustard .......

  • Fallenherobadge-3-1_max50_max50

    CAZ

    about 4 years ago

    1428 Comments

    Welch at first wielded a weapon, but dropped it when she saw she was outgunned by a SWAT team authorities said that McCluskely expressed regret at not having killed the U.S. Forest Service ranger who led to their capture.

    These two should never see the light of day as a free person again. Two Subjects go to jail and LEO's go home another great day!

  • Angel_kincaid_park_2014_max50

    AKangel

    about 4 years ago

    4978 Comments

    WOW! I bet she dropped her weapon when she noticed all the little red dots all over her body! HA HA HA.....
    Too bad the retired couple had to loose their lives while out relaxing on vacation.
    It's just sad their lives were cut short by some POS. RIP Mr., Mrs. HAAS, Thoughts and Prayers go out.......
    The prison system needs to fix their Security problems, If I have any Security alert False or otherwise I have to respond no matter what time and I'm protecting property not securing hardened Criminals.
    Come on alarms defaulting, Security doors wedged open, areas unstaffed in a prison full of POS.
    I just can't fathom how a prison could get so relaxed that three prisoners could escape. "Complacency kills".

  • Flags_and_stars_max50

    djs2v

    about 4 years ago

    5628 Comments

    Excellent job!!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 4 years ago

    Great job, no other people were injured and these mental midgits are off the streets.

  • Angel_kincaid_park_2014_max50

    AKangel

    about 4 years ago

    4978 Comments

    OUTSTANDING! Great Job to the Ranger and US Marshals Woot! Woot!

  • Policelinkbadge_max160_max160_max50

    Sheepdog267

    about 4 years ago

    1530 Comments

    Great job by the forest ranger!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    tatorhead

    about 4 years ago

    106 Comments

    awesome job

  • Img_0103_max50

    LAWMANTUKES

    about 4 years ago

    6976 Comments

    The US Marshals Always get their man...

  • Img_0103_max50

    LAWMANTUKES

    about 4 years ago

    6976 Comments

    Good Job Ranger...!!!

  • N1023300020_30025442_7610_max50

    KAICHARESE

    about 4 years ago

    2762 Comments

    GOOD JOB

  • Sheriff_3_max50

    sheriff950

    about 4 years ago

    5364 Comments

    Great job by the Forest Service Ranger and all officers involved...

  • Image_max50

    usa_24

    about 4 years ago

    5022 Comments

    Great job buy the Ranger and the officers. I hope they give that guy and his girl friend the death penalty.

  • Thinker_max50

    darsavmo

    about 4 years ago

    11362 Comments

    Great job by the Ranger and all involved in the arrest. Now maybe they can put him in a real prison with real guards and not in some contract/private prison run by a for profit company...

  • Beth_spic_s_059_max50

    barryedaniel

    about 4 years ago

    4034 Comments

    Great job by the Ranger !!!!!!!!!

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