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American couple on murder trial escape custody

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A manhunt is underway for an Arizona couple who escaped police custody Monday in Blanding, Utah, while they were being transported from New York to Pima County, Arizona, to face charges in the April murder of 72-year-old Frank Bligh in Tucson.

Arizona couple.jpg

Susan and Blane Barksdale overpowered two security guards and escaped custody as they were being transported to Arizona to face murder and other charges. They were last seen in Blanding, Utah. (Tucson Police Department)

The couple — 59-year-old Susan Barksdale and 56-year-old Blane Barksdale — were last seen behind the wheel of a red GMC Sierra pickup truck bearing Arizona license plate No. 127 XTY.

Police said the pickup has rear-bumper and front-passenger-side damage.

Blane Barksdale has several arm and hand tattoos.

Authorities said the couple are believed to be armed and dangerous, and anyone who spots or has information about them should refrain from confronting them. Instead, they should call 911 or 88-CRIME.

It’s unclear what direction they’re heading, though “investigators have information that they are possibly traveling through Arizona,” Tucson police said in a statement.

It’s unclear how the couple were able to overpower the security guards and take possession of the pickup truck.

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