PHOENIX—Federal authorities have increased the reward amount for information leading to the arrest of an Arizona murder suspect who escaped from a transport vehicle with his fugitive wife last month.
The U.S. Marshals Service, the FBI and other agencies continue to search for 56-year-old Blane Barksdale and his 59-year-old wife Susan Barksdale.
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.
The U.S. Marshals had been offering rewards of up to $10,000 for each suspect.
Blane Barksdale is described as 6-foot-5, 265 pounds with blue eyes and a shaved head. He also has tattoos all over his arms including of swastikas. Susan Barksdale is 5-foot-7, 110 pounds with blonde and gray hair and blue eyes.
The agency announced Monday the reward for information leading directly to Blane Barksdale’s arrest is up to $25,000 now and he’s been added to their 15 Most Wanted list.
Susan Barksdale’s reward amount remains at up to $10,000.