The ATF, charged with investigating arson cases, posted photos of suspects and offered $ 5,000 for helpful advice from the public. A video by Mr Felan “went viral” and resulted in “multiple leads, including from people who wish to remain anonymous,” an ATF agent said in a court document. (The ATF has also used facial recognition technology, including the Clearview AI app, to identify strangers, according to reports from the Government Accountability Office and BuzzFeed.)

Mr. Felan and Mrs. Yousif could not be reached for comment. Mr. Felan’s attorney declined to comment because the case is pending and Ms. Yousif’s attorney did not respond to multiple attempts to contact him. Much of this report is drawn from government documents and sources, and what they described about their lives there likely panicked them. Mr. Felan has had previous legal problems.

And Mrs. Yousif was about seven months pregnant.

So they drove south on Interstate 35, a freeway that runs right through the country and extends from Duluth, Minnesota, on Lake Superior to Laredo, Texas, on the Mexican border. They had crossed Iowa and had just reached the northern part of Missouri, 300 miles from Rochester, when police first caught up with them.

An arrest warrant had been issued for Mr. Felan’s arrest, allowing the authorities to ping his cell phone to find him. It stopped late Monday evening, more than a week after the events in St. Felan, according to a court document. Mrs. Yousif drove behind the wheel and said she didn’t know where Mr. Felan was. The police let them go.

Ms. Yousif was then charged with helping Mr. Felan escape, and the ATF published a new call for help setting the reward at $ 10,000: “We ask the public to walk along the corridor of Interstate 35 after the Couple to keep an eye out. “

Over the next week, police pinged the location of Mr. Felan’s phone but continued to miss him. According to a court document, he sent a message to his brother in Texas saying he would turn it off between the messages because he was concerned about being followed; the couple eventually bought new phones.

They drove west through Kansas and Oklahoma and made their way to see Mr. Felan’s family. His mother and brothers had heard of the manhunt and were sending each other worried Facebook messages. At one point the couple traded cars with Mr. Felan’s mother.