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CNN Today

Search Continues for Final Two Texas Fugitives

Aired January 23, 2001 - 4:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Authorities in Colorado have found the getaway van used by two prison escapees from Texas who remain at this hour on the run. That van was discovered today near a hotel in Colorado Springs. With that discovery, the search for the two men, Donald Newbury and Patrick Murphy, has certainly intensified throughout the state of Colorado.

And while Newbury and Murphy remain on the run, the four Texas fugitives who were captured yesterday are in custody now. CNN's Frank Buckley joins us from Denver with the latest developments -- Frank.

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Joie, investors say the finding of a van believed used by the two remaining fugitives who are still on the run is a significant development in their investigation. The van was found at a parking lot of a motel and restaurant in Colorado Springs this morning. There is no sign of the fugitives, however.

Investigators hope to meticulously go through the van, searching for evidence. Already, they have seen from outside of the van hair dye, suggesting the men have attempted to change their appearances. The van was found about 20 miles from where, yesterday, police discovered and arrested four of the fugitives. They had been staying in a RV park in Woodland Park since January 1st. A fifth fugitive killed himself, according to police.

Authorities say a search of the RV that the fugitives had been using revealed they were armed and had made other preparations during their weeks on the run. They found assault weapons, other guns, thousands of rounds of ammunition, $10,000 in U.S. currency, and, they say, they found receipts for bulletproof vests.

There was an exceptional level of bonding between the escapees, according to the chief FBI agent on this case. He says that normally escapees, when they do escape from a jail or prison facility, break up and go their separate ways. In this case, he says, there has been a great deal of bonding. They have stayed together from the beginning until the end, it appears.

Now there are two who are apart from this group. And they say, the FBI agents say, that the four who are in custody have been giving them some limited cooperation, actually helping authorities to find the two remaining fugitives because, they say, of this bonding situation. They want their fellow fugitives to be brought in and not harmed.

So, they are actually cooperating with authorities to some degree. But, again, those two fugitives still remain at large -- Joie.

CHEN: Frank, is there any indication from authorities that they believe anyone is helping these escapees? I mean, $10,000 in cash. How did that get that kind of money, and the other things that they had?

BUCKLEY: Well, they have -- they were involved in at least two armed robberies that authorities know of after of the prison breakout. One of them netting, they believe, somewhere in the neighborhood of $70,000. So, that may explain the large amount of cash.

But they also do believe -- they have believed from the beginning that there were accomplices on the outside that have been helping or at least helped at one point because they do know that when they escaped and drove off of the jail prison compound in a truck, they almost immediately had two cars waiting for then in the parks lot and were able to use those cars to ultimately make their first getaway.

So, they do believe that someone has helped them on the outside. But so far, the authorities say they are not bringing any charges of aiding and abetting -- Joie.

CHEN: CNN's Frank Buckley on the ground and following this story in Colorado.

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