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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
3:36 PM Sun, Nov. 18th

Blog: Capture of fugitives brings sigh of relief, dodged bullet

By now you've heard (or read) that fugitives John McCluskey and Casslyn Welch were apprehended by authorities Thursday in Springerville, Ariz., after three weeks on the run.

A SWAT team from the Apache County Sheriff's Office arrested the couple at a campground on the edge of the Apache National Forest, near the New Mexico state line, thanks to an observant Forest Service employee.

This tale goes back to July 30 when three men escaped from a medium-security prison near Kingman. Welch allegedly tossed bolt cutters over a fence so the men could escape. Authorities captured the other two men - Daniel Renwick and Tracy Province - on Aug. 1 in Colorado and Aug. 9 in Wyoming, respectively.

And, they allegedly received help from two Arizona women - McCluskey's ex-wife, Diana Joy Glattfelder, 43, of Prescott Valley, and McCluskey's mom, Claudia Washburn, 68, of Payson. They face charges of hindering prosecution and conspiracy to commit escape.

The subway argument that has been coming to a boil includes the question of why three men serving time for murder (Renwick and Province) and attempted second-degree murder (McCluskey) were in a medium-security prison.

The other part to this is the 900-pound gorilla: it was a private prison, not a state prison, and Prescott Valley earlier this year was flirting with the idea of building a private, 5,000-inmate medium-security prison near town.

Could this have happened here? Sure it could have - we dodged a bullet there. Are we glad the prison proposal died? Quite simply, yes, I am.

What do you think?

As for the capture of these fugitives, I know I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I say that because I have friends and family in Colorado, have been through much of Wyoming and the last two, who fashioned themselves a modern "Bonnie and Clyde," still were - or were back - in Arizona.