Two Arizona inmates who escaped last month and their alleged accomplice have been charged with murder and carjacking a couple while they were on the lam.
Federal prosecutors in New Mexico said that 45-year-old John McCluskey, 42-year-old Tracy Province and their alleged accomplice, 44-year-old Casslyn Welch, are responsible for the carjacking and shooting deaths of Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, Okla., according to The Associated Press.
The trio reportedly encountered the couple Aug. 2 -- three days after their prison escape -- at a rest stop in New Mexico.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales said the Haases were traveling to Pagosa Springs, Colo., for a camping trip when they were shot and killed by McCluskey, who was drawn to their camping trailer. Gonzalez said they were "two people on vacation who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time."
After killing the couple, the fugitives then drove the trailer to a remote area in New Mexico's Guadalupe County, where they burned and abandoned the trailer, according to the report.
Province, a convicted murder, was arrested Aug. 9 outside a church in Meeteetse, Wyo., after being spotted with McCluskey and Welch the week before in the area around Yellowstone Park.
McCluskey and Welch were taken into custody near the town of Springerville, Ariz., near the border with New Mexico, Aug. 20. The duo told authorities that if given the chance, they would have shot it out with police.
The beginning of the end for the escaped Arizona inmate and his suspected accomplice, who had eluded law enforcement for weeks, came when a forest service ranger saw an unattended campfire and a silver vehicle at a campground in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest.
The ranger alerted local authorities and law enforcement discovered that the license plate on the car was stolen. A sheriff's SWAT team moved in and approached the pair, and made the arrest.
Apache County Sheriff Joseph Dedman Jr. lauded the ranger as the "true hero" behind the fugitives' capture.
"He made contact. He was out there doing his job when he saw these two fugitives. I congratulate the forest service officer for being vigilant out there on behalf of our community," Dedman said at a press conference today.
Fidencio Rivera, the chief deputy U.S. marshal for the Arizona district, who had been manning the hunt for the escaped convicts, told "Good Morning America" that the arrest happened relatively quickly.
"Within a couple of hours, [police] responded, put a team together and arrested the couple safely without anyone being hurt," Rivera said.
Authorities were concerned that the duo, believed to be white supremacists and considered to be extremely dangerous, would go out shooting.
But they was caught off-guard, with McCluskey resting on a sleeping bag, according to authorities. McCluskey, who was serving a 15-year sentence for attempted murder and other charges, told authorities if he had been able to retrieve his gun, he would have killed the officer involved.