Tucson police investigation suspects

Blane and Susan Barksdale were identified as suspects in the killing of 72-year-old Frank Bligh.

A Tucson couple has been arrested in New York in connection with the possible killing of an elderly man, authorities said Friday.

Blane Barksdale, 55, and his wife Susan, 58, were linked to the death of Frank Bligh, 72, in April, according to Tucson police spokesman Sgt. Pete Dugan earlier this month.

Tucson police said they are facing charges of first degree murder, first degree burglary, arson, felony criminal damage and auto theft. 

With the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force and the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, in New York, the couple was located in an RV in a parking lot in Henrietta, New York, late Thursday night, according to U.S. Marshal Charles Salina, with the Western District of New York office. 

The couple was located based on information provided by the Arizona U.S. Marshal's office, Salina said. They were arrested without incident early Friday morning.

They were both booked into the Monroe County jail and will be extradited to Arizona, he said. 

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

Bligh was not home during the fire, according to the Tucson Fire Department. Police said it appeared the fire was set intentionally.

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Detectives then started a missing-persons investigation when Bligh's car was not found. The following day, his car was located on South Wilmot Road, police said. 

Based on evidence in the car, detectives determined that Bligh was dead, according to Tucson police. He was last seen on April 7 at the Cowpony Bar on the east side. 

The alleged arson was later linked to Brent Mallard, 30. He is Blane Barksdale's nephew, police said. He was arrested on April 26 and is facing charges of arson, criminal damage and second degree burglary.

Following Mallard's arrest, police said the Barksdales were identified as suspects in the incident. 

Anyone with further information about the incident is asked to call 911 or 88-CRIME. No further information has been released.

Contact reporter Gloria Knott at gknott@tucson.com or 573-4235. On Twitter: @gloriaeknott

Metro Producer

Gloria is a Tucson native and attended the University of Arizona. She started at the Star as an apprentice in 2017. Following her apprenticeship, she began freelancing until becoming a full-time reporter and producer after her college graduation in 2018.

Reporter

Danyelle joined the Star in 2018 and covers K-12 education. Previously, Danyelle wrote for the Tucson Weekly where she won several statewide awards including story of the year and first place investigative reporting.