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Escapees tied to probe of couple’s death

Sun., Aug. 8, 2010

PHOENIX – Two men who escaped from a private Arizona prison and a woman thought to have 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.”

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 west in Albuquerque on Wednesday afternoon.

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

The Arizona Department of Corrections says the three men escaped by cutting a hole in the prison’s perimeter fence and later kidnapping two semitruck 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.


 

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