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Fugitive killer relieved at arrest

An escaped killer with a handgun and a hitchhiking sign apparently said he was relieved to be captured after 10 days on the run.

US authorities are searching to the north of the Yellowstone National Park for a second fugitive and his female accomplice, a self-styled Bonnie and Clyde.

Tracy Province, 42, was caught as he walked in sleepy Meeteetse, Wyoming, yards from a church where he sat in the pews a day earlier and sang a hymn.

The search for inmate John McCluskey, 45, and Casslyn Welch, 44, focused for a time on the sprawling park, which straddles Wyoming and Montana. But authorities now believe the two fled the park, with agents following leads in Montana.

"They consider themselves as Bonnie and Clyde," US Marshal David Gonzales said at a news conference in Phoenix. "This is very, very serious business."

Province, McCluskey and Daniel Renwick escaped from a private, medium-security Arizona State Prison near Kingman on July 30 after authorities said Welch threw wire cutters over the perimeter fence.

Welch is McCluskey's fiancee and cousin. Renwick, who has just turned 37, was captured in Colorado. Efforts to find the remaining fugitives intensified after they were linked to a double homicide in New Mexico, with the case featured on America's Most Wanted.

On Sunday, Province was recognised after walking into Meeteetse Community Church, about 60 miles outside of Yellowstone, wearing blue jeans, a blue flannel shirt, and a camouflage backpack slung over one shoulder, worshipper Jay Curtis said. Province looked like the many hitchhikers who pass through town.

When marshals and other law enforcement officers arrested him, he initially denied being the fugitive, Mr Gonzales said. He was carrying a 9mm handgun and the sign that said Casper, a city about 160 miles to the southeast, authorities said.

Province was in the Park County jail and scheduled for an extradition hearing, authorities said. Gonzales said a 40,000 US dollar reward was set for McCluskey and Welch's capture. 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.

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