NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga: Tongan police launched a high-seas chase Thursday after an American man accused of murder escaped from custody and attempted to flee the Pacific nation on his yacht. Police said Dean Jay Fletcher escaped from Vava’u Police Station, in the country’s north, in the early hours of Thursday. A police launch with 10 officers on board located the 54-year-old a few hours later about 10 kilometers offshore, and they were trying to apprehend him. “The escaped prisoner is refusing to stop and making threats to himself and police officers, which has not allowed for a safe boarding at this stage,” Tonga police said. “Further assistance has been dispatched to the area.” Fletcher arrived in Tonga with his Canadian wife in May and in July reported to police that he had found her dead aboard their yacht. He was charged with murder after a post-mortem examination. Further details of the alleged crime have not yet been made public.