Escaped Arizona Killer Tracy Province Captured; Search Continues for John McCluskey

Province was arrested in Wyoming town. Two other fugitives remain on the loose.

August 9, 2010, 8:12 AM

Aug. 9, 2010 — -- Police have captured escaped killer Tracy Province,one of two "extremely violent" prison escapees who have been on the run with their alleged accomplice since July 30.

The 42-year-old Province, who was serving a life sentence for murder and robbery, was captured at 6:20 a.m. in Meeteetse, Wyoming, about 60 miles outside of Yellowstone National Park. Yesterday, a woman recognized Province after talking to him on the steps of a local church.

"As soon as she sat down on her couch, up came the pictures of our escapees and she immediately identified him and positively identified him," U.S. Marshal David Gonzalez said at a press conference.

After using surveillance video to trace Province, U.S. Marshals and local police moved in to arrest him this morning.

He was captured without incident. Police say Province at first denied who he was but later admitted his identity.

At the time of his arrest, Province was holding a hitchiking sign that had "Casper" written on it, the name of a city in the center of the state, where he was likely headed. Police said that Province also had a nine millimeter handgun at the time of his arrest.

"He was relieved that this manhunt was over for him and that this long process was finally over for him," Gonzalez said.

'On McCluskey Like A Cheap Suit'

Meanwhile prison escapee John McCluskey and suspected accomplice Casslyn Welch remain on the lam. McCluskey was serving a 15 year prison sentence for attempted murder. Welch is McCluskey's fiance and cousin. All of the fugitives are believed to be be white supremacists and members of the Aryan Brotherhood.

"Rest assured, we are going to be on McCluskey like a cheap suit," Gonzalez said.

He reminded the public that there is a $40,000 reward for the capture of McCluskey.

"In situations like this, you got to be vigilant," Gonzales said. "If you see anything, call 911 and report it immediately."

Investigators said earlier today that they believed Province had separated from McCluskey and Welch in the last few days. The group had been sighted in Yellowstone National Park over the weekend.

Gonzalez said that McCluskey and Welch are no longer in Yellowstone National Park, but are in the vicinity. Investigators believe they are driving a gray Nissan Centra.

"They have nothing to lose," Gonzalez told ABC News earlier today. "We consider them very, extremely dangerous, violent. And when you have individuals who feel trapped, cornered, God knows where this could lead to."

ABC News consultant Brad Garrett said that each day McCluskey and Welch remain on the lam makes it harder for them to keep their cover.

"It's very difficult to remain on the lam because keep in mind everyone virtually knows what they look like at this point," Garrett said. "In my mind, it's clearly only a matter of time that they eventually will get caught."

Gonzalez doesn't rule out that friends or allies from the white supremacist network might be helping the couple.

"There are some enclaves in that part of the country and they have connections and friends in that area they might be headed to," he said.

There are more than a dozen extremist groups with links to white supremacists in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center website.

McCluskey and Welch: Bonnie and Clyde?

He said that the couple consider themselves a modern Bonnie and Clyde.

"I think they've taken the persona that this is some type of movie and this is some kind of a joke that they are living, but it is not," Gonzalez said. "This is a very, very serious business."

While investigators have their sights trained on the surrounding area of Yellowstone, it is still a "national manhunt." Investigators said that the couple is driving a gray Nissan Sentra.

U.S. investigators also alerted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that the escapees may have headed north into Canada, the AP reported.

The investigation into how the prison escape occurred July 30 is ongoing. Security lapses have been blamed.

Authorities say Province and McCluskey escaped from a medium-security Arizona prison July 30 with the help of Welch.

Another inmate, Daniel Renwick, also escaped in the breakout but was apprehended the next day in Rifle, Colorado after a gunbattle erupted during a short car chase, according to the marshals.

The search intensified for the remaining fugitives this weekend after forensic evidence linked at least one of them to a double-murder in New Mexico.

Gonzalez said Province and McCluskey are suspects in the double-murder of a husband and wife who were burned in their trailer in New Mexico last week. The charred remains of Linda and Gary Haas were found last week after a rancher came across their wandering dogs. The couple's truck was found 120 miles away in Albuquerque with evidence connected to the escapees, police said.

McCluskey's mother is now under arrest for allegedly giving McCluskey and Welch clothing, money and a getaway car.

McCluskey's stepfather, Jack Washburn, expressed his anguish at the pain his step son has casused.

"He'll never realize how bad he's hurt me and his mother," Washburn said.

CLICK HERE to see a picture of each of the runaways at the U.S. Marshal website.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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