Marshal: Fugitive couple likely getting help to stay hidden

U.S. & World

FILE – These undated file booking photos provided by the Tucson Police Department show 56-year-old Blake Barksdale, left, and his 59-year-old wife Susan Barksdale. Authorities believe that the fugitive couple wanted in a killing in Arizona is getting help staying missing. U.S. Marshal for Arizona David Gonzales said Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019 that deputy marshals are looking at several persons of interest in the search for the couple. U.S. Marshals, the FBI and other agencies have been sifting through hundreds of tips since the pair overtook a prison transport van Aug. 26 outside of St. Johns, Ariz. (Tucson Police Department via AP, File)

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

PHOENIX (AP) — Authorities believe husband and wife fugitives wanted in the killing an Arizona man have been able to stay under the radar for more than a week because they are getting help from multiple people.

David Gonzales, the U.S. Marshal for Arizona, said Tuesday that deputy marshals are looking at several possible persons of interest in the search for Blane Barksdale and Susan Barksdale.

“The other major piece of it is there are people we believe that are assisting in harboring them,” Gonzales said. “It is illegal obviously to harbor fugitives and anybody that does harbor the Barksdales, we will prosecute them also.”

Marshals, the FBI and other agencies have been sifting through hundreds of tips since the pair overpowered two guards more than a week ago in Utah and took control of a prison transport van delivering them to Tucson.

Tucson police identified Blane Barksdale, 56, and Susan Barksdale, 59, as the primary suspects in the April death of a 72-year-old man. They were found in upstate New York in May and subsequently arrested.

On the afternoon of Aug. 26, their transport van left Blanding, Utah, when Susan Barksdale faked a medical emergency, according to Gonzales. The accompanying male and female guards, who were unarmed, pulled the vehicle over. The couple used the opportunity to overwhelm them and tie them up with shoelaces. A third prisoner was also present, but authorities say he was not involved.

From there, the duo drove the van and stopped just outside St. Johns, Arizona. Gonzales says they obtained a red GMC Sierra pickup truck from a friend and drove both cars in tandem. After a short time, they abandoned the prison van and took off in the pickup. It took the guards, who were not injured, more than two hours to free themselves.

Gonzales believes it’s unlikely the Barksdales are still using the pickup. He instructed state transportation officials Monday night to stop flashing alerts with the car’s license plate on digital signs. The truck’s owner, who Gonzales did not identify, will likely face prosecution once the couple is found.

Law enforcement agencies have also been coordinating with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol in case the couple is heading to Mexico, Gonzales said. But he believes they are still somewhere in Arizona or New Mexico.

“They’re gonna get caught. It’s just a matter of time when,” Gonzales said.

Blane Barksdale is described as 6-foot-5 (1.8-meter-13 centimeters), 265 pounds (120 kilograms) with blue eyes and a shaved head. He also has tattoos all over his arms including of swastikas. Susan Barksdale is 5-foot-7 (1.8-meter-18 centimeters), 110 pounds (50 kilograms) with blonde and gray hair and blue eyes. Both are considered armed and dangerous.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact CBS47 and let us be On Your Side.

Phone: 559-761-0383
Email: OnYourSide@cbsfresno.com

Don’t Miss

Best of the Valley
Sunday Morning Matters
MedWatch Today
Hispanic Heritage
Bulldog Insider: The Podcast
The Valley's Armenia
Pros Who Know

Images from Armenia

Small patients in Armenia
Yerevan by night.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers in Gyumri.
Doctors unpack medical supplies from The Central Valley.
Fresno Medical Mission at work.
Medical Supplies being unloaded.
Fresno Medical Mission at the ready.
KSEE24 crew witnesses the miracle of life in Gyumri, Armenia.
Life saving work of Central Valley surgeons in Armenia.
Ribbon cutting on new surgical center in Ashtarak Armenia. Fresno donors made this dream come true.
KSEE24 on assignment with the Fresno Medical Mission
Honorary Consulate to Armenia Berj Apkarian explains the crisis facing one hospital.
KSEE24's Stefani Booroojian and Kevin Mahan at the meeting with President Bako Sahakyan.
Medical Meeting in Artsakh.
The President of Artsakh meets with the Fresno Medical Mission.
Learning modern medicine techniques with the Fresno Medical Mission in surgery.
Leaning in for a look. Dr. Brien Tonkinson holds class and helps a patient in Armenia.
Fresno Medical Mission cares on one of the smallest patients in the region. Six-year old Yanna receives life-changing better breathing surgery.