Man wanted in elderly Ohio pair's slayings nabbed in Arizona
The FBI confirmed Thursday morning that Robert Clark, a suspect in the murders of Doyle and Lillian Chumney, was arrested after a high-speed chase in Arizona.
This Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015 photo provided by the Mohave County Sheriff shows Robert Roy Clark, 29, of Dennison, Ohio. Clark, wanted in the killings of an elderly Ohio couple and in armed robberies in three states, was arrested early Thursday in Arizona after a high-speed chase and nationwide manhunt. An FBI spokeswoman in Cleveland said Clark was arrested by the Mohave County sheriff's office in Kingman. One of his companions, Tabatha Marie Hazel, 26, of Canton, Ohio, a suspect in the armed robberies, was arrested with him. Jeffrey Caley Jr., one of his two companions sought in the robberies, remains at large. (AP Photo/Mohave County Sheriff)
This undated photo provided by the Starsburg Police Department shows Doyle and Lillian Chumney. Autopsies and DNA testing are needed to definitively identify and determine the cause of death of two bodies found inside a badly burned car, believed to be those of the missing elderly couple, authorities said Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. The Chumney's were reported missing Wednesday morning after they failed to pick up a son in Massillon to take him to an airport. (AP Photo/Strasburg Police Department)
This undated photo provided by the Coshocton County Sheriffs Department shows Tabatha Hazel. Authorities say they believe that an elderly northeast Ohio couple was shot to death before their car was torched with them inside. The FBI has joined the search for slaying suspect Robert Clark and two companions who authorities say were involved with Clark in a string of armed robberies in three states over the weekend. Clarkâs two companions have been identified as Hazel and Jeffrey Caley Jr. (AP Photo/Coshocton County Sheriffs Department)
This undated photo provided by the Tuscarawas County Sheriffâs Office shows Robert Clark. Clark, a suspect in the abduction and killing of of Doyle Chumney, 88, and his wife, Lillian, 79, in northeast Ohio Jan. 21, 2015, is now suspected of committing two armed robberies in West Virginia on Saturday, Jan. 31, one Sunday afternoon, Feb. 1, in South Carolina and one in Georgia on Sunday night, said Tuscarawas County Chief Deputy Orvis Campbell. Campbell said Monday that Clark is desperate and dangerous. (AP Photo/Tuscarawas County Sheriffâs Office)
This undated photo provided by the Tuscarawas County Sheriffâs Office shows Jeffery Stewart. Stewart, 21, was arrested on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, and charged with murder in the slayings of Doyle Chumney, 88, and his 79-year-old wife, Lillian. They were reported missing Jan. 21 from their home in Strasburg, Ohio. Authorities have said Stewart made incriminating statements and implicated Robert Clark in the abductions and killings. (AP Photo/Tuscarawas County Sheriffâs Office)
This undated photo released by the Coshocton County Sheriffs Department shows Jeffrey P. Caley Jr. Authorities say they believe that an elderly northeast Ohio couple was shot to death before their car was torched with them inside. The FBI has joined the search for slaying suspect Robert Clark and two companions who authorities say were involved with Clark in a string of armed robberies in three states over the weekend. Clarkâs two companions have been identified as Caley Jr. and 26-year-old Tabatha Hazel. (AP Photo/Coshocton County Sheriff's Department)
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CLEVELAND (AP) -- 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.