More than a hundred law enforcement officers are on the trail of a modern day Bonnie and Clyde who just might be hiding out in the vast wilderness of Yellowstone National Park after allegedly murdering an Oklahoma couple after one helped the other escape from an Arizona detention facility, officials said.
John Charles McCluskey and his fiancee Casslyn Welch have been on the run for a week, since Welch is said to have tossed wire cutters over the fence at the jail near Kingman, Ariz. Two other convicts also escaped but one of them, Daniel Renwick, was apprehended by police in Colorado after a shootout with police. The other, Tracy Province, was with McCluskey and Welch as they made their way from Arizona to Yellowstone but was captured in Wyoming. It is unclear at what point they separated.
The trio are suspected of murdering Gary and Linda Hass, two campers who were found dead in a park near Santa Rosa, N.M. Peter Olson, a New Mexico state police spokesman, said McCluskey, Welch and Province may have run into the couple, hijacked them into New Mexico then murdered them. Authorities say they had been seen driving a 1997 Nissan Sentra, but still are unsure of their route afterward.
McCluskey was jailed for the attempted murder of a police officer; Province was serving time for murder. The Arizona Republic also reported earlier that Welch is a first cousin of McCluskey’s and that his mother, Claudia Washburn helped the two get away. She was subsequently arrested.
Authorities say Province was captured while hitchhiking and holding a sign that said “Casper” on it, possibly trying to reach the Wyoming town. McCluskey and Welch are still considered armed and dangerous and police believe contact with them could be deadly.
“They are using violence to get what they want, and what they want is to stay out of prison,” said Peter Olson, a New Mexico state police spokesman.