Fugitive couple wanted for murder might be getting help from white supremacists, police say

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A fugitive couple wanted for murder could be receiving help from white supremacists, police say.

Blane Barksdale, 56, and Susan Barksdale, 59, who are wanted in the murder of a 72 year-old man, escaped custody in Utah while being transported from upstate New York to Arizona in late August.

Blane’s name was added Tuesday to the U.S Marshals’ 15 Most Wanted list, and authorities have described him as a “career criminal.”

“Somebody like Blane in prison…would be associated with Aryan brotherhoods, white supremacist gangs,” said U.S. Marshal for Arizona David Gonzales at a press conference Tuesday.

“I don’t think there’s any question that there are people that are assisting and harboring” the fugitive couple, Gonzales said.

The Barksdales, who are also facing burglary and arson charges, got free during their transport by overpowering two security officers and kidnapping them together with a third inmate in a prison van. The couple drove from Utah to Arizona where they obtained a pickup truck from an acquaintance. They later abandoned the locked prison van with the two officers and third inmate inside, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Blake and Susan Barksdale.Tucson Police Department via Reuters

Police believe the couple may be hiding in Arizona.

It is “very easy for someone who wants to avoid the law to to hide out” in remote parts of the state, Gonzales said.

The Barksdales are suspects in the murder of Frank Bligh, 72, who has not been seen since fire consumed his home on April 16 in Tucson. Evidence at Bligh’s home led detectives to determine the fire was intentionally set. Detectives also believe that more than 100 firearms were stolen from the residence, the U.S. Marshals Service said.