NEW YORK (Reuters) - A female prison worker being questioned by police, who are hunting two escapees from an upstate New York prison, thought she had a romantic relationship with one of them and had planned to drive the getaway car, NBC News reported on Thursday.
In the end, Joyce Mitchell, an industrial training supervisor in the tailor shop of Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, got cold feet and checked herself into a hospital for nerves on Saturday, the day the inmates were discovered missing, NBC reported, citing unnamed senior government officials.
The older inmate, convicted killer Richard Matt, 48, who has a history of escape attempts, had wooed Mitchell for months and established a relationship in which she agreed to drive the getaway car, the report said.
"She thought it was love," one of the officials told NBC News.
Mitchell is married and has an adult son, who has said his mother would never help a prisoner escape.
Matt and David Sweat, 34, both convicted of murder, remained on the loose on Thursday, after escaping from the maximum-security prison through underground pipes and popping out through a manhole.
More than 450 state, federal and local law enforcement officers are now in their sixth day of a manhunt for the prison escapees, which has spread to Vermont and includes possible sightings as far away as Philadelphia.
(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Bernadette Baum)