As the search continues for the “Bonnie and Clyde” fugitives, a spokesman with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the central focus of the investigation is still centered in the United States. That’s because there’s no concrete evidence that the pair have crossed over into Canada.
Sgt. Patrick Webb of the RCMP told Land Line on Thursday, Aug. 19, that despite receiving some reports that John McCluskey, 45, as well as his accomplish and fiancée, Casslyn Welch, 43, have been spotted near the Canadian border, they have been unable to confirm the sightings.
“The last time they were seen was in the U.S.,” Webb said. “In spite of the comments or the information that we got that they might be en route here, we’ve got nothing to indicate that they crossed the border, attempted to cross the border, or made it across the border.”
The trail has gone cold since the last “credible sighting” of McCluskey and Welch on Aug. 6, 2010 in Billings, MT, according to the U.S. Marshals Service, who said their focus is now on northwestern Montana and southwestern Canada.
The agency is also warning truckers to be on the alert for the suspects who both have had previous experience as over-the-road trucks and may be hiding out at truck stops or in remote area. McCluskey may have some survival skills, which would allow the two to live on the land and avoid public places.
On July 30, Welch allegedly threw wire cutters over the fence at the Arizona State Prison in Kingman and three prisoners, including McCluskey, escaped. Two are again in police custody, including Tracy Province, who was captured in Wyoming, and Daniel Renwick, caught near Rifle, CO.
Shortly after escaping, Renwick is believed to have located the getaway car first, leaving the others behind. A little while later, two team drivers, including an OOIDA member, were kidnapped on Interstate 40 at milepost 44, and then released nearly five hours later near Flagstaff, AZ.
The team drivers were forced to the back of the cab and held at gunpoint, while a “male subject got in the driver’s seat and drove,” according to Leslie DeSantis with the Mohave Sheriff’s Department.
McCluskey and Welch are also suspected in the deaths of a 61-year old couple from Oklahoma whose bodies were found at an eastern New Mexico campground.
Earlier this week, Richard Tracy with the U.S. Marshals Service told Land Line that authorities believe McCluskey and Welch are still driving a 1997 Nissan Sentra with Arizona plates. The plate number was 620PFV, but he said that it’s “highly possible the Arizona plates have been replaced.” He said the factory color listed for the Sentra is “platinum gold,” but the car looks like more of a silver or light gray color.
“Our target audience as far as public information goes is over-the-road truck drivers who are utilizing these facilities,” Tracy said. “We want them to know that McCluskey and Welch are out there. We want to keep this message out there, not only because of our interest in helping to catch them, but it’s about public safety as well.”
According to the most recent information by the U.S. Marshals Service, the two are believed to have altered their appearances. McCluskey may have grown a beard and is missing his left upper lateral incisor (next to his left front tooth). Welch, who may now be blonde, is missing almost half of her right index finger. She smokes holding the cigarette between her right middle and right ring fingers.
A $35,000 reward has been offered for information leading to their capture. If drivers witness anything suspicious, they are urged to call the ASP Kingman Escapees Task Force at 602-542-1212.
– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer