CLEVELAND — A man wanted in the killings of an elderly Ohio couple and suspected of committing armed robberies in three states fled from sheriff's deputies in Arizona in his van and then on foot before being arrested early Thursday after a nationwide manhunt, authorities said.
The FBI had issued a federal warrant for 29-year-old Robert Clark in the abduction and slayings last month of 88-year-old Doyle Chumney and his 79-year-old wife, Lillian, in Strasburg, Ohio, and the robberies of stores in West Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia last weekend. The FBI posted a $20,000 reward for information leading to Clark's capture.
The Mohave County sheriff's office said Thursday that Clark sped away from deputies just after midnight Wednesday when they tried to stop his van on Interstate 40 near Kingman, Arizona. The sheriff's office had received a bulletin Wednesday to look out for Clark, his van and his two companions.
Deputies chased the van into Kingman. Clark eventually pulled onto a dirt road, where the van became stuck, authorities said. All three began running. Clark was caught with 26-year-old Tabatha Hazel at around 2 a.m. A search team of 40 officers found 28-year-old Jeffrey Caley Jr. hours later. Caley was armed but agreed to surrender, authorities said.
Ohio authorities have said Hazel and Caley are suspects in the armed robberies but not in the killings. The Chumneys' remains were found inside their badly burned car on a country road in rural Coshocton County on Jan. 22, the day after they were reported missing. Authorities believe the Chumneys were shot before their car was set on fire.
Tuscarawas County Sheriff Walt Wilson said at a news conference Thursday that he was relieved no one else was hurt while Clark, Caley and Hazel traveled the country. He called the slayings "a horrific crime."
"Our hearts go out to the family of the Chumneys," he said. "It's hard to imagine someone could do something so terrible to a nice elderly couple."
Prior to the attempted traffic stop in northern Arizona early Thursday, Clark and his two companions were last seen during a robbery in Donalsonville, Georgia, on Sunday night. A surveillance video from that robbery shows Clark holding a sawed-off shotgun and Caley holding a pistol as a convenience store clerk walks in front of them. Hazel went inside the store before Clark and Caley entered, authorities said.
Diane Enama, one of the Chumneys' four children, declined to comment Thursday. She found her parents' home ransacked Jan. 21. Police have recovered items taken from the couple's home.
A second man charged with murder in the killings, 21-year-old Jeffery Stewart, was arrested Jan. 31. He is charged with one count of murder and is being held on $2 million bond. Authorities have said Stewart implicated himself and Clark in the killings. It appears that Clark and Stewart knew each other through a landscaping service where they had worked, Coshocton County sheriff's detective Tom Couts has said.
Clark was released from prison in May after serving a 4 1/2-year sentence for robbery and other charges.
Authorities received a break in the investigation after surveillance video was released to the public that shows Clark's van at a gas station where Stewart bought a gas can and filled it, Couts said. Stewart called police after seeing the video. He was arrested on a traffic warrant and provided statements implicating himself and Clark, Couts said.
Davenport reported from Phoenix. Associated Press writer Felicia Fonseca contributed to this report from Phoenix.