Image: Tracy Alan Province, John Charles McCluskey
Mohave County Sheriff's Office
Tracy Alan Province and John Charles McCluskey escaped from the medium-security Arizona State Prison near Kingman on July 30 after authorities say 44-year-old Casslyn Welch of Mesa threw wire cutters over the perimeter fence. The three have been linked to a New Mexico double-slaying. A third escapee, Daniel Kelly Renwick, was arrested in Colorado on Aug. 1.
updated 8/9/2010 1:01:29 AM ET 2010-08-09T05:01:29

The search for two men who escaped from a private Arizona prison and their accomplice has turned to the vast Yellowstone National Park area after one of the inmates was linked to a double homicide in New Mexico.

The U.S. Marshals Service said Sunday information developed within the past two days indicates Tracy Province, John McCluskey and Casslyn Welch may be hiding in portions of the park that span Montana and Wyoming. The agency also said investigators believe Province has separated from McCluskey and Welch.

It doesn't appear any of the three are expert campers or have wilderness survival skills, said Thomas Henman, supervisory deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service in Phoenix.

"From the start, we believed these individuals would be staying at campgrounds and truck stops and other places like that. This keeps to that pattern," Henman said. He added authorities believe the three might be sticking to back roads and smaller state highways.

Federal investigators in Montana and Wyoming and law enforcement authorities with the National Park Service are working with investigators from Arizona to follow leads in the Yellowstone area.

Also, U.S. authorities have advised the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that the suspects may try to cross into Canada, Henman said. The warning was issued because the three have quickly moved northward and were within several hundred miles (kilometers) of the border, he said.

The manhunt for the three intensified Saturday after forensic evidence linked at least one of the inmates to the killings of an Oklahoma couple who was traveling through eastern New Mexico earlier this week.

The badly burned skeletal remains of Linda and Gary Haas — both 61 — were found in a charred camper Wednesday morning on a remote ranch in Santa Rosa. The couple's pickup truck was found that afternoon 100 miles (160 kilometers) west in Albuquerque.

Province, McCluskey and Daniel Renwick escaped from the medium-security Arizona State Prison near Kingman on July 30 after authorities say the 44-year-old Welch threw wire cutters over the perimeter fence. Welch is McCluskey's fiancee and cousin.

The three later kidnapped two semi-truck drivers at gunpoint and used the big rig to get away, authorities said. The group left the drivers unharmed in the truck at a stop just off the freeway in Flagstaff and then fled.

Renwick was arrested Aug. 1 in Colorado.

Province was serving a life sentence for murder and robbery. McCluskey was serving a 15-year prison term for attempted second-degree murder, aggravated assault and discharge of a firearm. Renwick had been serving a 22-year sentence for second-degree murder.

Authorities said the movements of the two inmates and their accomplice have been unpredictable so they will continue with the nationwide manhunt until all three are arrested. Publicizing their photographs in newspapers and on television, including a segment Saturday night on "America's Most Wanted," has helped generate tips, investigators said.

A series of billboards featuring the three are also planned.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: Fugitive inmates spark massive manhunt

  1. Closed captioning of: Fugitive inmates spark massive manhunt

    >>> but we begin on a monday morning with that intense manhunt for two escaped inmates and their female accomplice. nbc's george lewis has the latest. george, good morning to you.

    >> good morning, matt. law enforcement officers throughout the west are looking for the three fugitives, and they warn these are extremely dangerous individuals who have killed before and who could kill again.

    >> reporter: police say inmates tracy province and john m mccluskey broke out of prison in arizona with the help of this woman. mccluskey's woman and fiancee. investigators say there's evidence tying the fugitives to this crime scene in santa rosa , new mexico, a burned-out trailer where police found the charred bodies of linda and gary haas from oklahoma. since then the two escapees and the woman are believed to have traveled to the area around yellowstone national park . although investigators now say province may have split up from mccluskey and welch.

    >> we want the public to understand and be aware that they are violent and extremely dangerous .

    >> reporter: the two inmates got out of this privately run medium-security prison in kingman, arizona, last month. a third inmate involved in the escape, daniel renwick, was captured a week ago after a shootout with police in colorado. now the question, why were such dangerous men in a medium-security facility where they were able to cut through the perimeter fences?

    >> it appears to have been a human error on the part of several of that staff.

    >> reporter: an error that had deadly consequences for an innocent couple from oklahoma. authorities are offering $30,000 in reward money for information leading to the capture of the fugitives. they're warning people if they see anyone who looks like the escaped prisoner, they should call police immediately. matt?

    >> george lewis on this story for us this morning. george,

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments