Couple Wanted for Murder in Arizona Escape From Guards During Extradition

August 27, 2019 Updated: August 28, 2019

A couple wanted for murder in Arizona escaped from custody when they overpowered guards who were transporting them through Utah, while being extradited from New York to Arizona, officials said on Tuesday, Aug. 27, adding that the man and woman are considered armed and dangerous.

Blane Barksdale, 56, and Susan Barksdale, 59, broke free on Monday evening from two guards in Blanding, a rural town in southeast Utah, the Tucson Police Department said in a statement.

The couple later obtained a GMC Sierra pickup truck and drove off, Tucson police spokesman Pete Dugan said.

“Investigators have information that they are possibly traveling through Arizona,” Tucson police said in a statement.

The couple were being extradited from the upstate New York town of Henrietta, where they were arrested in May, to Pima County, Arizona, to face a murder charge, Tucson police said.

It was not immediately clear how the couple commandeered the pickup truck. It had damage to the front passenger side and rear bumper, Tucson police said.

Dugan could not provide further details on how the couple escaped.

The two guards who were transporting the Barksdales worked for the private company Security Transport Services, which is hired by Pima County, Arizona, officials to transport inmates.

A representative for Kansas-based Security Transport Services could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Barksdales are charged with murdering Tucson resident Frank Bligh, 72, who was last seen on April 7 at the Cowpony Bar in Tucson, police said in a statement in May. Bligh’s house was intentionally set on fire on April 16 and the flames set off an explosion in the home, the police said. Bligh was not found inside the house.

Police later identified the Barksdales as suspects in Bligh’s disappearance, obtaining an arrest warrant on May 1 on a charges of murder, burglary, arson and vehicle theft, Tucson police said.

By Alex Dobuzinskis

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