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Arizona murder suspect escapes with fugitive wife, added to US Marshals '15 Most Wanted' list

Blane and Susan Barksdale.jpg
Posted at 5:22 PM, Sep 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-09 20:31:19-04

WASHINGTON (KTNV) — The search for the Arizona murder suspect who escaped custody with his wife intensified Monday as the U.S. Marshals Service added him to its 15 Most Wanted list.

Blane Barksdale, 56, and his wife Susan Barksdale, 59, escaped custody while being extradited back to Arizona from New York, on Aug. 26.

Authorites say the husband-and-wife team overpowered and kidnapped two security officers and a third inmate near Blanding, Utah. The couple then drove to Vernon, Arizona, where they obtained a GMC Sierra pick-up truck from an aquaintance. They later abandonded the locked prison van with the three occupants inside.

The Barksdales have been charged with first-degree murder by the Tucson Police Department in the death of Frank Bligh, 72, who has not been seen since fire consumed his home April 16. Evidence found at Bligh’s residence led detectives to determine the fire was intentionally set.

Detectives also believed that more than 100 firearms were stolen from the residence.

Additional evidence uncovered during the investigation led authorities to obtain homicide arrest warrants for the couple.

The charges on the warrants include first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, arson of an occupied structure, criminal damage and auto theft.

“I urge the public not to be deceived by the physical appearance of the Barksdales,” said U.S. Marshals Service Director Donald Washington.

“While they may look friendly, both have demonstrated a propensity for violence and should be considered armed and dangerous. The couple’s alleged blatant disregard for human life and the law have made them both a priority for us. We believe this elevation and the public’s vigilance will ultimately result in their apprehension.”

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Blane Barksdale is described by authorites as a 6-foot-5 male weighing approximately 260 pounds with brown-gray, shaved hair and blue eyes. He has large tattoos covering both forearms, arms, shoulders and torso of swastikas, warlocks, lightning bolts – all associated with white supremacy groups.

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Susan Barksdale is described as a 5-foot-7 female weighing approximately 120 pounds with blonde-gray hair and blue eyes.

They were last seen possibly driving a red GMC Sierra pickup truck with damage to the front passenger side and rear bumper with an Arizona license plate 127XTY.

The U.S. Marshals are offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading directly to Blane Barksdale’s arrest.

A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered for information leading directly to Susan Barksdale’s arrest.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the nearest U.S. Marshals office, the U.S. Marshals Service Communications Center at 1-877-WANTED-2, or submit information through the U.S. Marshals Tips app.