Escaped Murder Suspects on the Run


Grace Davis, Contributor

You may have seen the highway signs that read, “ESCAPED PRISONERS RED GMC TRUCK AZ 127XTY CALL 911”. This was due to the recent unexpected escape involving two murder suspects. Blane and Susan Barksdale are a husband and wife duo who were put on trial for the murder of Frank Bligh, a 72 year old man who died recently in Tucson on April 16, 2019. Mr. Barksdale’s nephew, Brent Mallard, assisted in setting the man’s house on fire and is being held in Pima County. Meagan Flynn writes, “Bligh had vanished about one week before the fire at his home. His brother reported him missing the same day of the fire, according to the Tucson Police Department, although the home was not occupied at the time it was set. His body has still not been found.” Their charges are of first degree murder, arson, burglary, criminal damage, and auto theft. The couple had no way out, but they found a way to seize the moment and escape.

When the couple were being transferred to another location, the criminals overtook two security officers in Blanding, Utah. The officers say that Susan Barksdale pretended she was having intestinal issues and needed to go to the restroom. The officers, unfortunately believed this and pulled the van over. This was when the couple overpowered the guards, tied up the officers, and put them in the back of the van. One of the Barksdale’s made their escape in a red 2004 GMC pick-up truck from a associate. The truck has Arizona license plates which read “127XTY”. The other continued driving the van and abandoned it in the desert. Luckily, the officers managed to get free and call the police to notify them of what had occurred. When the police were notified, the prisoners already had a running start. Soon after, reports of their escape were shown placed on signs and television making the escape known and giving people a warning to the couple. The hopes were to get some information on where the couple could be. Many people believed to have seen the truck, but no one was found. The truck itself wasn’t even found.

The FBI and other major law enforcement are getting involved in this escape. The couple was on the United States Marshals Service’s 15 Most Wanted list following the escape. They are very dangerous and have more than 100 firearms. Officials advised those who would come across the escapees to stay clear from them as to protect themselves from possible dangers. The advice is no longer needed however because the couple was found about two weeks following the search. “Based on tips they had received, the marshals believed the Barksdales were hiding out somewhere east of Snowflake, Ariz., an isolated enclave where dozens have gone to live off the grid, some of whom believe they suffer from environmental illnesses that make it impossible for them to live in populated areas among pollution and technology. On Wednesday night, the Barksdales were found in Tonto Basin, about 115 miles southeast of Snowflake. The marshals have not revealed what led them to the couple. ,” says Maegan Flynn. Fortunately the escapees returned back to Pima County and the tiring long search has finally come to an end.