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It took authorities 17 days to find Elbert and Becky Higginbotham’s motorhome when it was stuck in mountain snow, but less than two to find it again when the couple were on the lam.
The Mail Tribune, Medford, Ore., reported that acting on a tip from an off-duty Washington State Parks ranger, police found and arrested the couple at about 4:20 p.m. Tuesday (March 28) along Highway 101 in southwestern Washington, two days after the Higginbothams purportedly told family members they were headed to Arizona to settle outstanding drug charges.
The park ranger recognized the motorhome from news reports about the Higginbothams, who slipped out of Ashland on Sunday. They and the Stivers family of Ashland were rescued March 21 after being stranded for more than two weeks in the snow on a remote forest road during a trip to the Oregon Coast.
Warrants for the Higginbothams’ arrest on drug charges were entered March 22 in an Arizona municipal court after police there noticed the Higginbothams from news reports of their rescue. However, police here did not have the authority to arrest them until Monday, when the warrants were entered into law enforcement’s nationwide database.
The pair, who knew about the Arizona charges, were taken into custody without incident and lodged at the Pacific County Jail in South Bend, Wash., the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office reported.
In Arizona, Navajo County Sheriff Gary Butler said late Tuesday that Oregon’s most infamous RV’ers could face additional charges for attempting to flee to avoid prosecution.
“They knew about the warrants, but snuck out of Oregon in the middle of the night,” Butler said. “When they headed north and not the opposite direction, it meant they can face other charges.