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Fugitives who led fatal Tulsa police chase had troubled, criminal pasts

April 2, 2014 Updated: April 2, 2014 at 10:20 pm
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Tulsa Police investigate a shooting that involved a fugitive wanted in Colorado Springs. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World

Two fatal gunshots ended an Oklahoma car chase Tuesday that was led by a Colorado Springs man and woman who had absconded parole in February, Tulsa police said.

The pursuit ended in a southeast Tulsa neighborhood after police said Roy Hanthorn, 36, shot his girlfriend Rhiannon Vantassell, 32, in the head, before turning the gun on himself.

"Vantassell was pronounced dead at the scene, and Hanthorn died later in a local hospital," said Tulsa police spokeswoman Sgt. Jillian Roberson.

Hanthorn and Vantassell, had been listed as two of the Pikes Peak Region's Most Wanted fugitives, the Gazette reported Monday.

Police did not say what the pair was doing in Tulsa.

Tulsa authorities were tipped off about 3:30 p.m. that Hanthorn was seen driving a stolen gray Hyundai with Colorado license plates and was armed with a handgun, said Roberson.

Police spotted the car, but Hanthorn, refused to stop, and a chase ensued through the center of downtown, Roberson said.

While evading police, the two abandoned the Hyundai and carjacked a white Honda.

"Fortunately the owner of the vehicle was able to get away," Roberson said.

In a statement form police, investigators said they initially thought Hanthorn was kidnapped by Vantassell, but later realized she was on the run with him.

According to Tulsa World reports, Hanthorn had told his family he would not be returning to Colorado alive.

For week's, Vantassell's mother, Debby used Facebook posts to communicate with her daughter, and had pleaded for her to return home.

"She is on the run. If we can locate her by this week, she won't be in trouble, the person she went with is in trouble, that is why she is on the run, to be with him!" her mother posted on Feb. 17.

Two days later, she wrote that her daughter had contacted her and would try to get in touch with her probation officer to "see what they can do to get help and get back on track."

According to Facebook posts in March, family members were concerned for Vantassell's safety because she struggled with heroin use. She had a daughter that she'd left behind with family.

Hanthorn had been in and out of prison since July 1999, when he was taken into custody for motor vehicle theft, drug abuse, and two counts of theft.

He was paroled in March of 2006, but absconded from parole in November 2006. He was on the run for 6 months, until authorities caught up with him in May 2007.

He went back to prison with new charges, including an additional count of motor vehicle theft and possession, according to Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman Sue Cobb. He remained in prison until March 2013 when he entered into community corrections, and then was released on parole in December. Two months later, he absconded again, this time going on the run with Vantassell, who was sentenced to prison on burglary charges in September of 2012, and had served about two and half years in prison before entering community corrections. She was released on parole in November and had three years left before she absconded. Hanthorn would have been released in October 2016 if he'd completed his parole, said Cobb.

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