Inmates who escaped from Arizona prison linked to killing of couple in New Mexico

Aug 7th, 2010 | By usnews | Category: U.S.

PHOENIX

Two men who escaped from a private Arizona prison and a woman who helped them have been linked to the investigation of a couple’s killing in New Mexico, authorities said Saturday.

New Mexico State Police spokesman Peter Olson said Tracy Province, John McCluskey and Casslyn Welch were linked through forensics but he declined to provide specifics.

He declined to say whether police believe the three were responsible for the killings, adding that “we don’t know how involved they are.”

Province, McCluskey and Daniel Renwick escaped from the medium-security Arizona State Prison near Kingman on July 30 after authorities say 44-year-old Casslyn Welch of Mesa threw wire cutters over the perimeter fence. Renwick was arrested in Colorado on Aug. 1.

The badly burned skeletal remains of Linda and Gary Haas, both 61, of Tecumseh, Okla., were found in a charred camper on Wednesday morning on a remote ranch in Santa Rosa in eastern New Mexico.

Olson said a car belonging to the couple was found 100 miles east in Albuquerque on Wednesday afternoon.

The Arizona Department of Corrections says the three men escaped by cutting a hole in the prison’s perimeter fence and later kidnapping two semi-truck drivers at gunpoint and using the big rig to flee. The group left the drivers unharmed in the truck at a stop just off Interstate 40 in Flagstaff and then fled.

Province was serving a life sentence for murder and robbery out of Pima County. McCluskey was serving a 15-year prison term for attempted second-degree murder, aggravated assault and discharge of a firearm out of Maricopa County. Renwick had been serving a 22-year sentence for second-degree murder.

A nationwide search was under way for McCluskey, Province and Welch. The group may be using a 1997 platinum gold Nissan Sentra with Arizona license plate 6-2-0-P-F-V.

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