John McCluskey, the last of three recent Arizona prison escapees to be recaptured, went down relatively easy, this from a man who allegedly said he'd not be taken alive. McCluskey (45) and his cousin/girlfriend Casslyn Welch (44), were located by a US Forest Ranger at a remote campsite in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in eastern AZ. The Ranger was investigating an unattented campfire and saw the silver Nissan Sentra that had been linked to the remaining fugitives and even had a brief chat with McCluskey. The camp site was soon surrounded by law enforcement officers and SWAT team members who took the two into custody. Welch had a pistol in her belt but after looking at the manpower and firepower surrounding her, she surendered meekly. McCluskey, whose weapon was in a tent just out of his reach, also surrendered, later saying he should have shot the Ranger when he first saw him and then shot it out with the arresting officers. This is the usual cheap, brovado- type language you can expect from a killer who, when his own life is on the line, choosed life rather than a Bonnie and Clyde type ending that many had predicted for the pair.
McCluskey, who was serving a 15-year term for attempted murder, is currently the primary suspect in the double homicide of Gary and Linda Haas, whose burned up bodies were found in their trailer on August 4, 6 days after McCluskey and two other prisoners first went on the run, this with Welch's assistance. She had allegedly threw wire cutters over the prison fence to them and, with guards far from on the alert, they made their escape from the medium security prison.
The actions of the sharp-eyed Park Ranger brought to the end a national man hunt that had generated almost 1,000 leads across at least six states before these last arrests. McCluskey, his fellow escapees and Welch once again have learned that while you can run from the authorities, you cannot hide, unless, of course, your name is Osama ben Laden...
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