Blane Barksdale on Top 15 Most Wanted List, reward increased to $25,000

Search continues for Tucson murder suspects who escaped while being extradited back to Pima County

Barksdales make the Top 15 Most Wanted list

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Arizona murder suspect Blane Barksdale, who escaped with his fugitive wife Susan, has been added to the U.S. Marshals Service 15 Most Wanted List.

The Marshals Service made the announced during a news conference on Monday, Sept. 9.

Search for Tucson murder suspects Blane and Susan Barksdale

WATCH: Authorities are giving an update about the search for Tucson murder suspects Blane and Susan Barksdale >> https://tucsonne.ws/2lzZUUg

Posted by KOLD News 13 on Monday, September 9, 2019

Blane Barksdale, 56, and his wife Susan Barksdale, 59, escaped custody while being extradited back to Arizona from New York, on Aug. 26.

The husband-and-wife team overpowered and kidnapped two security officers and a third inmate near Blanding, Utah. The couple then drove to Vernon, AZ, where they obtained a Red GMC Sierra pickup truck from an acquaintance. They then abandoned the prisoner van with the three locked inside.

Detectives believe the couple is likely getting help to stay hidden and could be hiding east of Snowflake. The Marshals Service said they do not believe the Barksdales made it to Mexico.

The Barksdales have been charged with first-degree murder by the Tucson Police Department in the death of Frank Bligh, 72, who has not been seen since fire consumed his home April 16. Evidence found at Bligh’s residence led detectives to determine the fire was intentionally set.

Detectives also believed more than 100 firearms were stolen from the home and only around 30 have since been recovered.

Additional evidence uncovered during the investigation led detectives to obtain homicide arrest warrants for the couple. The charges on the warrants include first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, arson of an occupied structure, criminal damage and auto theft.

“I urge the public not to be deceived by the physical appearance of the Barksdales,” said U.S. Marshals Service Director Donald Washington. “While they may look friendly, both have demonstrated a propensity for violence and should be considered armed and dangerous. The couple’s alleged blatant disregard for human life and the law have made them both a priority for us. We believe this elevation and the public’s vigilance will ultimately result in their apprehension.”

Blane Barksdale is a 6-foot-5 white male weighing approximately 260 pounds with brown-gray, shaved hair and blue eyes. He has large tattoos covering both forearms, arms, shoulders and torso of swastikas, warlocks, lightning bolts – all associated with white supremacy groups.

Susan Barksdale is a 5-foot-7 white female weighing approximately 120 pounds with blonde-gray hair and blue eyes.

They were last seen possibly driving a red GMC Sierra pickup truck with damage to the front passenger side and rear bumper with an Arizona license plate 127XTY.

The U.S. Marshals are offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading directly to Blane Barksdale’s arrest. A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered for information leading directly to Susan Barksdale’s arrest. A $5,000 reward is offered for information that help authorities find the truck.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the nearest U.S. Marshals office, the U.S. Marshals Service Communications Center at 1-877-WANTED-2, or submit information through the U.S. Marshals Tips app at www.usmarshals.gov/tips.

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