The Latest on prison escape: Manholes welded shut at prison

AP News
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Posted: Jun 14, 2015 8:29 PM
The Latest on prison escape: Manholes welded shut at prison

7:30 p.m. (EDT)

Workers are welding shut a manhole at the base of a wall on the side of the upstate New York prison where two killers escaped last week.

They also are sealing two other manholes Sunday on the street near the maximum-security prison in Dannemara, including the manhole the duo emerged from before they were discovered missing June 6.

Richard Matt and David Sweat have eluded authorities while hundreds of officers search the woods around the prison in the Adirondacks.

A prison worker, Joyce Mitchell, is to be in court Monday on charges she helped them escape by providing them hacksaw blades, chisels, a punch and a screwdriver bit.

A prosecutor says she told authorities she decided against driving them to an undisclosed destination seven hours away because she felt guilty.

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6:15 p.m. (EDT)

As the search continues along Route 374 in upstate New York for two killers who escaped from prison, state police say part of the highway will remain closed until Monday evening.

State police also will continue to work with the Saranac Central School District when the school week begins Monday and there will be a greater law enforcement presence on the campuses between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. The school district has suspended all outdoor activities.

More than 800 law enforcement officers are participating in the hunt for David Sweat and Richard Matt, who escaped nine days ago from the maximum-security prison in Dannemara. A prison worker charged with helping them is in custody and is to appear in court Monday.

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4:50 p.m. (EDT)

A prosecutor says investigators believe the two killers who escaped from an upstate New York prison last week cut their way out over several nights using tools left behind by contractors and returned the tools each night to their toolboxes to avoid detection.

District Attorney Andrew Wylie tells The Associated Press investigators suspect Richard Matt and David Sweat worked methodically, crawling out of their cells between midnight and 5 a.m. through holes they made in the walls.

Wylie says Sunday that prison worker Joyce Mitchell, who is charged with helping the men escape, agreed to pick them up in her car when they got out. He said she told authorities she backed out because she loves her husband and felt guilty.

The prosecutor says authorities have no evidence the men had a Plan B and believe the men are still in somewhere around the prison in Dannemora.

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1:15 p.m. (EDT)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says searchers continue to follow up on every lead in the hunt for two escaped murderers, but it's unclear if they're still in the vicinity of the northern New York prison.

Cuomo says officials don't know if the men are still in the area or "in Mexico by now."

David Sweat and Richard Matt have been on the run for nine days after using power tools to cut their way out of a prison near the Canadian border.

A prison employee has been accused of smuggling contraband to the men. Cuomo said there will be "zero tolerance" for any assistance the escapees may have received.

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11:15 a.m. (EDT)

Searchers were working under blue skies in northern New York for the second straight day as the hunt for two escaped murderers entered its ninth day.

Roads on the western edge of Plattsburgh were open only to local traffic and a state police helicopter was parked in a field where 24 hours earlier a contingent of 40 officers had marched into the adjacent woods on yet another grid search.

While many local residents remained locked in their homes at the advice of authorities, the outpouring of appreciation for the search effort continued. A restaurant was urging people to tie blue ribbons around trees and mailboxes.

Sgt. Barry Cartier of the Franklin County Sheriff's Department says locals have been "awesome," coming by with food. He's part of a crew from a neighboring county working 12-hour shifts.

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10:45 a.m. (EDT)

The prosecutor investigating the escape of two murderers from an upstate New York prison says the men planned to have a jail employee drive them seven hours away but she backed out of the plan at the last minute.

Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie says the woman accused of helping inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt told investigators she only knew where to pick them up.

Wylie tells CNN tailor shop instructor Joyce Mitchell told investigators the inmates did not tell her their destination. Wylie says Mitchell told police she didn't follow through with the plan because she didn't want to hurt her husband.

The men have been on the run from the prison near the Canadian border for nine days. Hundreds of law enforcement workers are searching the area around the prison.

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6 a.m. (EDT)

As dawn breaks on the ninth day of the hunt for two killers, officials say the search is expanding eastward from the wooded area where they have mostly focused since the prison break in far northern New York.

Troopers say more than 800 officers have joined the massive manhunt south of Dannemora. State police stayed stationed overnight into Sunday at intervals in the search area.

State police say investigators will continue to search door-to-door and plan to expand the search further east.

Residents of the rural area are not accustomed to locking their doors, at night or otherwise, but they have been on edge since David Sweat and Richard Matt cut their way out of the prison.

On Friday, prison tailor shop worker Joyce Mitchell was charged with providing the escapees hacksaw blades, chisels, a punch and a screwdriver bit.