Fugitives Busted; Casslyn Welch and Would-Be Cous-band John McCluskey Arrested in Northern Arizona

Any plans for a West-Virginia-style wedding for escaped Arizona prison inmate John McCluskey and his cousin/ fiancee, Casslyn Welch, will have to be put on hold. As you probably know, the two were busted at a campsite in northern Arizona last night.

They apparently hoped to go out in a hail of bullets but were nabbed, without incident, camping just south of the Sunrise Ski Resort around 7 p.m. yesterday.

The U.S. Marshals Service says a forest ranger in the area noticed what he believed to be an unattended fire. When he went to check it out he found a car with a New Mexico license plate.

The car was backed into the trees and, as U.S. Marshal David Gonzalez told the Arizona Republic, it looked as though someone was trying to hide it.

When the ranger ran the vehicle's plates, he discovered the car was reported as stolen near Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

The ranger called the Marshal's Service, which determined the car may have been linked to McCluskey and Welch.

The Apache County Sheriff's Office, the Department of Public Safety, and members of the Forest Service moved in on a the campsite and took the two into custody.

While they were being arrested, Welch reportedly reached for a gun she had in her waistband. Officers were able to subdue her before she could reach the gun.

McCluskey told officers after being arrested that he planned to use weapons he had stored in the tent, in which the two were living, against officers had he been able to reach them. He also told officers he should have killed the forest ranger when he had the chance.

The two were taken to the Apache County Jail where they're being held in solitary confinement.

An initial court appearance for McCluskey is set for some time today. 

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James King
Contact: James King