The latest on NY prison escape: Search area to be expanded

AP News
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Posted: Jun 16, 2015 5:44 PM
The latest on NY prison escape: Search area to be expanded

5:40 p.m. (EDT)

New York state police say the search for two killers who escaped from an upstate prison will be expanded beyond where the manhunt has been most intense.

Police say hundreds of officers have searched 16 square miles of woods, fields and swamps during the 11 days since inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt broke out of the maximum-security Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora. Troopers say evidence was found indicating the men "may have spent time there."

The search was concentrated in the area 4 miles from the prison town after search dogs caught the scent of both men in the woods.

The inmates were reported missing June 6. They had used power tools to cut through their cell walls and a steam pipe during the escape.

A prison worker has been charged with helping them.

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3:50 p.m. (EDT)

An upstate New York sheriff says he doubts that the two murderers who broke out of a maximum-security prison were relying on a tailoring shop supervisor to be their getaway driver.

The prosecutor who brought charges accusing Joyce Mitchell of aiding their escape said Monday that she backed out at the last minute, leaving the inmates without a "Plan B" for leaving.

But Clinton County Sheriff David Favro said Tuesday that he doesn't believe David Sweat and Richard Matt would have relied solely on Mitchell, given the elaborate planning that went into cutting through steel walls and steam pipes to escape from a manhole.

He says his theory is that she was Plan B, but he has no "concrete information" and investigators won't be certain until the fugitives are caught.

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3 p.m. (EDT)

Authorities say bad weather is hampering the search for two fugitive murderers because rain is washing away any possible scent and disrupting the use of technology such as thermal imaging to detect warm bodies.

Clinton County Sheriff David Favro says rain cools the body and makes tree leaves cling together, forming a dense canopy shielding the view from overhead. Helicopters have been used extensively during the hunt.

About four dozen searchers including forest rangers, corrections officers and at least one dog moved north along Route 374 on Tuesday morning about 2 miles from the Clinton Correctional Facility, where Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped June 6.

Sheriff Richard Cutting in neighboring Essex County says he's been hoping for a tip so searchers have direction of where to go.

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2:30 p.m. (EDT)

A prison worker now behind bars after she was charged with helping two killers break out of a maximum-security facility in upstate New York has been visited by her husband.

Clinton County Sheriff David Favro tells The Associated Press on Tuesday that Lyle Mitchell visited his wife, Joyce Mitchell, in the county jail for about an hour. The couple communicated via telephone and were separated by a glass divider. Favro says he saw no sign of emotion from Joyce Mitchell, who is under constant monitoring.

Mitchell is a prison tailoring shop supervisor who befriended inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat. She is charged with helping them flee by providing them with tools.

There is no sign of the prisoners 11 days after their escape.

Lyle Mitchell also works at the prison.

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8:50 a.m. (EDT)

Search teams are back in the woods of northern New York looking for two convicted murderers who broke out of a maximum-security prison a week and a half ago.

The more than 800 law enforcement officers searching for David Sweat and Richard Matt have steadily shifted their focus eastward along Route 374 leading from the village of Dannemora, home to Clinton Correctional Facility. The 11th day of searching began Tuesday with roadblocks still in place in some spots and teams of officers making their way through woods in the neighboring town of Plattsburgh.

Police say Route 374 is expected to remain closed at least through Tuesday.

State police say they've received more than 1,000 leads, but so far there have been no confirmed sightings of the escapees.