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2 accused in Tucson killing escape while being returned to Pima County

2 accused in Tucson killing escape while being returned to Pima County

The pair were charged with killing a 72-year-old Tucson man.

Officials say two Tucson homicide suspects are on the run after escaping from officers during their extradition to Pima County.

Blane Barksdale, 56, and his wife Susan, 59, "overpowered" two security officers in Blanding, Utah, near the Four Corners region, Monday evening. They were being extradited in connection with the slaying of Frank Bligh, 72, a Tucson police news release said.

They face charges of first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, arson, felony criminal damage and auto theft.

On May 24, authorities found the couple in an RV in a Henrietta, New York, parking lot and arrested them without incident.

The investigation of Bligh's death began after Tucson firefighters responded to a fire at his east-side home in the 3500 block of South Calexico Avenue on April 16.

Police later determined the fire was set intentionally, according to Daily Star archives.

Bligh's missing car prompted a missing-persons investigation by police. It was found the next day on South Wilmot Road, police said in April.

Based on evidence in the car, detectives determined Bligh was dead. He was last seen at a Tucson bar a week before the fire.

After escaping, the couple was last seen in a GMC Sierra pickup with Arizona license plate number: 127XTY. The truck is damaged on its front passenger side and rear bumper, the news release said.

Blane has numerous tattoos on his arms and hands, police said. Their current direction of travel is unknown.

Police also believe the couple is armed and dangerous and shouldn't be approached.

The FBI, U.S. Marshals and Apache County Sheriff’s Office are assisting in the investigation. Anyone with information on their whereabouts should call 911 or 88-CRIME, an anonymous tip line.

Contact Star reporter Shaq Davis at 573-4218 or

On Twitter: @ShaqDavis1

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Shaq is a public safety reporter and the Road Runner columnist, keeping readers up to date on transportation news. In 2017, he started as an apprentice and later worked part-time until graduating from the UA and being offered a full-time position in 2018.

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