Married murder suspects who faked a medical emergency to escape are recaptured

Clay Curtis
September 12, 2019

The couple was originally arrested in May after they were found hiding in an RV in a Henrietta parking lot.

The Barksdales are suspected of slaying 72-year-old Frank Bligh (pictured) in April in Tuscon, Arizona.

Blane Barksdale, 56, and Susan Barksdale, 59, were arrested and taken into custody without incident, the U.S. Marshals Service announced.

They were considered armed and unsafe after breaking free from two guards who were taking them from upstate NY to Tucson, Arizona to face murder charges over the killing of an elderly Vietnam veteran and burning of his house last April.

The Marshals Service was offering rewards of $25,000 for information leading to the arrest of Blane and $10,000 for Susan.

"Instead of having 40, 50 police officers, agents on the ground, we're going to pull back a little bit, reset our investigation, go over other leads", Gonzales said Monday, two days before the couple was captured.

Authorities believe they had help from Blane Barksdale's ties to white supremacist gangs along the way.

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Susan Barksdale feigned an illness to get the van they were in to stop as they were being extradited to Arizona, and when the vehicle pulled over near Blanding, Utah, they overpowered the two guards when they opened the rear doors, USA marshal for Arizona David Gonzales has told the Associated Press. His house was set on fire and his vehicle was stolen in April.

The Barksdales took the van and headed for Vernon, Ariz., a town so small it doesn't have a police force. Once they got to the area of St. Johns, they obtained a friend's red GMC Sierra pickup truck.

The couple then charged the guards as soon as the door was opened, Gonzales said.

Neither of the guards was hurt, but they were bound with shoelaces, Gonzales said. They don't think the couple made it to Mexico, KOLD says.

He said at a Monday news conference that the marshals were changing their strategy, after a fruitless search for the couple for two weeks.

The Barksdales were arrested in upstate NY in May following a nationwide manhunt, officials said.

The guards worked for a private security company.

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