3rd inmate who fled prison is recaptured

Forest ranger spots McCluskey, fiancee outside Springerville
2010-08-20T00:00:00Z 2010-08-20T09:17:08Z 3rd inmate who fled prison is recapturedHoward Fischer Capitol Media Services Arizona Daily Star
August 20, 2010 12:00 am  • 

PHOENIX - The last of three state inmates who escaped from a private prison July 30 was recaptured in Eastern Arizona on Thursday night.

John McCluskey was apprehended following a lead from an alert U.S. Forest Service ranger, said David Gonzales, the U.S. marshal for Arizona.

Also caught was Casslyn Welch, his cousin and fiancee, who is accused of helping McCluskey and two other inmates cut their way through a fence at a Kingman facility three weeks ago.

Gonzales said the ranger was checking out an unattended fire at the Gabaldon Campground at the edge of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, near Springerville.

He said the ranger initially found no one around. But the ranger spotted a vehicle partly hidden in the trees, wrote down the license plate number and learned it had been stolen in New Mexico about the time an Oklahoma couple was slain near Santa Rosa.

Gonzales said the ranger did eventually come into contact with McCluskey.

Gonzales said the circumstances of the stolen vehicle and the camper he described as "nervous" caused the ranger to find the "wanted" poster from the U.S. Marshals Service. When he matched the photos, Gonzales said, the ranger called for assistance.

Gonzales said a decision was made to have the Apache County sheriff's SWAT team wait until dark to take the couple into custody.

Welch drew a gun tucked in her belt when SWAT members approached, but she dropped the gun when faced with armed officers, Gonzales said. McCluskey told officers he should have killed the Forest Service ranger who had bumped into the pair earlier, Gonzales said.

The other two escapees, Tracy Province and Daniel Renwick, had been recaptured earlier. Corrections Department officials said that Welch helped the three escape by cutting through the prison security fence.

Renwick was recaptured in Rifle, Colo., on Aug. 1, and Province was found in Meeteetse, Wyo., on Aug. 9.

Renwick and Province were serving time for murders in Pima County. McCluskey was serving a 15-year prison term for attempted second-degree murder, aggravated assault and discharge of a firearm.

Province, McCluskey and Welch have been linked to the slayings of Greg and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, Okla., whose burned bodies were found near Santa Rosa, N.M.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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