Wednesday 7 December 2016

Fugitive 'planned suicide by bear'

Published 28/01/2011 | 09:07

Convicted killer Tracy Province, centre, planned to overdose at Yellowstone National Park and let bears eat him (AP)
Convicted killer Tracy Province, centre, planned to overdose at Yellowstone National Park and let bears eat him (AP)

A convicted killer who escaped from an Arizona prison said after his capture that he had planned to overdose on heroin at Yellowstone National Park and let bears eat him to end the fear and panic he was experiencing while on the run.

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Tracy Province told Mohave County sheriff's Detective Larry Matthews that he had wanted to go up on a mountain, inject a gramme of heroin and "be bear food".

As he was preparing the drug, a voice told him not to go through with the plan, and he changed course in favour of trying to hitch-hike to Indiana to see family.

"He called it divine intervention," Mr Matthews wrote in an August report.

Al Nash, a spokesman at Yellowstone National Park, said it is certainly possible that Province's plan would have worked, but it struck him as improbable. "We have a fair number of bears in the ecosystem," Mr Nash said. "They eat about anything. A bear would rather get an easy meal than a difficult meal, but human-bear encounters are very infrequent."

Authorities said Province asked fellow convict John McCluskey and their alleged accomplice, Casslyn Mae Welch, to take him to Yellowstone, so they drove him to the Wyoming park from New Mexico. Province does not name anyone else in the interview with Mr Matthews, but it is clear whom he is with.

Their travels took them to the Phoenix area to get clothing and to an eastern Arizona Walmart to buy sleeping bags, and they got turned around in Oklahoma and Texas, Province said in the interview first reported on Thursday by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The trio face capital murder and carjacking charges in New Mexico, where they are accused of killing an Oklahoma couple and burning their bodies inside a caravan.

Province has pleaded guilty to Arizona charges of escape, kidnapping, aggravated assault and armed robbery.

He will then be sent to New Mexico to face charges there.

Press Association

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