A three week manhunt for a prison escapee and his accomplice has ended. Both were arrested Friday, thanks to the quick thinking of an unnamed forest service staff person.
John McCluskey and Casslyn Mae Welch were found and taken into custody at a campground that lies in the Apache and Sitgreaves National Forests in Springerville, Arizona. U.S. Marshal David Gonzales confirmed the arrest.
When the forest service employee first noticed an unattended campfire and a suspicious car, a license plate check was done. This brought back results of the car being stolen in New Mexico very close to where a couple had recently been murdered. Both suspects were thought to be involved in killing the couple.
The Apache County Sheriff’s Department sent a SWAT team out to the site and they managed to take both suspects into custody. Gonzales said this was done quickly to prevent McCluskey and Welch from retrieving their weapons. However, Welch did attempt to pull out a gun. The SWAT team managed to stop her prior to her firing the weapon.
McCluskey was found lying outside the tent. He later stated that he should have shot at the officers and the park ranger. Gonzales said that law enforcement was convinced there would be a bloody shootout when apprehension took place.
The forest staff employee has been labeled a hero by the Apache County Sheriff.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety is relieved that the suspects have been captured before more lives were lost.