The state of Arizona braced itself as news of a prison break hit the media. Convicted criminal John McCluskey, 45, and his fiancee Casslyn Welch, 44, became the focus of a full-scale manhunt after McCluskey escaped from prison in northwest Arizona with two other inmates on July 30. Cluskey and his fiancee managed to evade authorities in six states for three entire weeks before they were finally captured at a campsite in Arizona.
Reports confirmed that 44-year-old Welch was more than McCluskey’s accomplice and fiancee. Welch is also McCluskey’s cousin. Dubbed Bonnie and Clyde, after the real-life romantic coupling of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow in the 1930s, McCluskey and Welch evaded capture for three weeks before law enforcement finally caught up with them.
Considered the most notorious outlaw coupling during the “public enemy era” between 1931 and 1934, Bonnie and Clyde evaded the law for three years until the law caught up with them in a well-organized ambush in Louisiana. Unlike Bonnie and Clyde, the hunt for modern-day outlaws McCluskey and Welch came to an end just weeks after the escape, without bloodshed and gruesome headlines.
On Thursday, the pair was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals in eastern Arizona after their stolen vehicle was located at the Sitgreaves National Forest in Springerville, Ariz.. According to FoxNews, a forest ranger noticed the vehicle and the outdoor fire, and alerted the authorities. Sitgreaves National Forests in Springerville is only a few miles away from the New Mexico-Arizona border. The campsite was just 300 miles away from the prison facility that McCluskey escaped from.
In addition, the crime-committing couple are suspects in the murders of two civilians found at the location of the stolen car. The SWAT team arrived on the scene fully expecting a gunfight or showdown. Welch attempted to grab her gun but was overwhelmed by the SWAT team surrounding the campsite that the pair set up for the night. McCluskey was outside of the tent that his gun was later discovered in.
“We were convinced that this would go down in a bloody shootout,” confirmed US Marshal David Gonzales.
Now back in custody, the residents of Arizona can sleep a little easier. While in custody, McCluskey told the authorities that he could not have escaped from the prison facility without the help of his accomplice Welch. The manhunt for Cluskey and Welch reached as far away as Canada before the fugitives were brought to justice. Read more.