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Alert Park Ranger Triggers Arrest of Arizona Prison Fugitive

August 20, 2010  | 


Prison escapee John McCluskey and accomplice Casslyn Welch were apprehended Thursday evening in northern Arizona. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Marshals Service.

The remaining escapee of three who broke out of a Kingman private prison and his accomplice were apprehended Thursday evening at a Northern Arizona campground, the U.S. Marshals Service announced.

At 7:15 p.m. Thursday, John McCluskey, 45, and Casslyn Welch, 44, were arrested by a tactical team of officers from the U.S. Forest Service, Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the Apache County (Ariz.) Sheriff's Department at the Gabaldon Campsite near the Mt. Baldy Wilderness in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.

Earlier Thursday, an alert U.S. Forest Service Ranger observed a male and female camping in an unauthorized area in the campsite. As he approached the individuals, he noticed the male walk behind a tree in an attempt to conceal his identity. After observing bullet holes in a nearby tree, the ranger told the individuals to leave the area. As the ranger returned to his vehicle, he recorded the license plate of the individuals' vehicle. A quick inquiry determined the New Mexico license plate had been reported as stolen.

Surveillance was established while an arrest team could be assembled. Shortly after 7 p.m., the arrest team approached the campsite and encountered McCluskey and Welch. At that time, Welch drew a weapon but was subdued before it could be used. Additional weapons were found at the campsite.

McCluskey and two other inmates escaped from the Management & Training Corp. prison in Kingman on July 30. McCluskey, Tracy Province and Daniel Renwick are in custody again after a nationwide manhunt involving hundreds of tips from the public.

Investigators believe Welch, who is McClusky's cousin and fiancee, assisted in the escape, by throwing cutting tools into the prison yard.

Renwick was arrested on Aug. 1 in Rifle, Co., after a brief car chase and firing a weapon at a pursuing police vehicle. Province was arrested on Aug. 9 in Meeteetse, Wy., without incident.

Information was developed by law enforcement in New Mexico linking the escapees to the murders of a couple at a campground in Santa Rosa that occurred last week. The couple's camper had been set on fire and was discovered in Santa Rosa while their truck was found abandoned approximately 120 miles away in Albuquerque. Police in New Mexico are investigating the murders.

McCluskey and Welch are now being held in the Apache County Jail in St. Johns, Ariz.


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