News >> Browse Articles >> Off Beat


Arizona Fugitive Planned Suicide By Bear

Associated Press

January 31, 2011

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) – A convicted killer who escaped from an Arizona prison said after his capture that he had planned to overdose on heroin at Yellowstone National Park and let bears eat him to end the fear and panic he was experiencing while on the lam.

Tracy Province told Mohave County sheriff’s Detective Larry Matthews that he had wanted to go up on a mountain, shoot up a gram of heroin and “be bear food.” As he was preparing the drug, a voice told him not to go through with the plan, and he changed course in favor of trying to hitchhike to Indiana to see family.


In this Sept. 20, 2010 photo, convicted killer Tracy Province, center, is seen being escorted from a courthouse in Kingman, Ariz. Province, who had escaped from an Arizona prison, told a sheriff's detective his plan was to overdose on heroin at Yellowston

“He called it divine intervention,” Matthews wrote in an August report.

Al Nash, a spokesman at Yellowstone National Park, said it’s certainly possible that Province’s plan would have worked, but it struck him as improbable.

“We have a fair number of bears in the ecosystem,” Nash said. “They eat about anything. A bear would rather get an easy meal than a difficult meal, but human bear encounters are very infrequent.”

Authorities say Province asked fellow convict John McCluskey and their alleged accomplice, Casslyn Mae Welch, to take him to Yellowstone, so they drove him to the Wyoming park from New Mexico. Province doesn’t name anyone else in the interview with Matthews, but it’s clear whom he’s with.

Their travels took them to the Phoenix area to get clothing and to an eastern Arizona Walmart to buy sleeping bags, and they got turned around in Oklahoma and Texas, Province said in the interview first reported Thursday by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The trio face capital murder and carjacking charges in New Mexico, where they’re accused of killing an Oklahoma couple and burning their bodies inside a camping trailer.

Province has pleaded guilty to Arizona charges of escape, kidnapping, aggravated assault and armed robbery and is scheduled to be sentenced Friday. He then will be sent to New Mexico to face charges there.

Province, McCluskey and a third inmate, Daniel Renwick, escaped from a minimum-security prison near Kingman on July 30. Authorities say Welch helped them flee by throwing cutting tools over the perimeter fence.

Province told Matthews about his plan to commit suicide after he was returned to Arizona following his Aug. 9 capture in the sleepy town of Meeteetse, Wyo.

He was serving two life sentences for murder and robbery and told Matthews he fantasized about fleeing but became nervous after scaling a fence topped with barbed wire and cutting through another fence. The trio’s escape went unnoticed for hours.

“He didn’t know why anyone would want to escape because all you do is look over you® shoulder the entire time,” Matthews wrote.

Province told the detective he had put a gun under a pillow at an Albuquerque motel, then turned on the TV and saw a story about the escape, so he panicked and left without the weapon.

Province also discovered that he forgot how to drive during their time in New Mexico, telling Matthews that he almost hit other motorists. The group of fugitives ended up leaving the vehicle he was driving behind.

“Everyone drives too fast now,” Matthews quoted Province as saying. “When he went to prison the speed limit was 55.”

Province recounted to Matthews that he told his traveling companions he was upset after the New Mexico killings and that “he wasn’t in for it.” The two suggested Yellowstone, and they dropped him off there.

The escape that Province said was planned over a couple of weeks spurred a nationwide manhunt for the fugitives.

Renwick had split from the group right away and was captured days later after a shootout with police in Colorado.

Authorities caught up with McCluskey and Welch in eastern Arizona, where a Forest Service employee spotted the beat-up Nissan they were driving at a campground. They are set to go to trial on Arizona charges April 19.

(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Idf_soldier_and_kittyimage2_max50


    over 4 years ago


    You can't make this stuff up!

  • New_unit_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I wonder, when he gets the death penalty can they let the bears carry it out? Since the whimps at the pharmaceutical company don’t want to make the drugs used in executions. Hire a bear for the executioner

  • Me2_max50


    over 4 years ago


    all i can say is wtf...................

  • 041105-o-9999g-012_max50


    over 4 years ago


    it is an original plan.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    A convicted killer wanted the bears to munch on him? Sounds like a plan,should have left him there.Now we taxpayers are going to have to feed,cloth and house this freak for the rest of his miserable life.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    over 4 years ago


    "Suicide by Bear" ?? Really ?? How about "Suicide by Smoky Bear"????

  • 74596_129289523905506_927477597_n_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I'm sure there is a Bubba that's as big as a bear waiting for him back at the jail!

  • Images_7a8ec2bec1e1bf7f38b54b52a8c9c453_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Bears smarter than suspect!

  • 1470392_10205607568942018_1213501835514947434_n_max50


    over 4 years ago


    lol, Don't feed the bears.

  • N1023300020_30025442_7610_max50


    over 4 years ago



  • My_phone_4619_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Oh man the ppl in this world!!! Hahahh... "Bump everyone" watch out bears

  • 20140808_191221_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Mmmmm I love bears.

  • 1051193310_l_max50


    over 4 years ago


    ummmmm, ummmmm, ummmmmm....

  • Policememorial---a_max50


    over 4 years ago


    The poor bear would probably had indigestion from eating this POS.

    Wanted to save the public from any further panic his escape and manhunt was causing? Try wanting to save himself from having to man up to his evil deeds and paying the price for them.

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    over 4 years ago


    Hey Tracy...
    While you call it "Divine Intervention" I call it "Satanic Intervertion"... Because:
    Too bad you changed your plans. What a shame.

PoliceLink School Finder

Save time in your search for a criminal justice degree program. Use PoliceLink's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

Get Info

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.

Recent Activity

bill9823 gave a thumbs up to The Post "The PL Mentoring Team", 8 minutes ago.
Irishcop1961 commented on: "Kristine Cecala", 14 minutes ago.
Irishcop1961 commented on: "DonnaLynn C", 15 minutes ago.
Irishcop1961 commented on: "Sue G", 16 minutes ago.
Irishcop1961 commented on: "Ginny Nor", 17 minutes ago.