Update as of 7:31 a.m. EDT: Clinton Correctional Facility employee Joyce Mitchell "provided some form of equipment or tools" to the two convicted murderers who escaped from the prison last week, Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie told CNN on Friday.
Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, reportedly used power tools to cut through a steel wall of the maximum security prison and escape. A manhunt is ongoing to apprehend the two convicts.
A female employee of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, was the getaway driver for two inmates who fled the maximum security prison last week triggering a massive manhunt, a person close to the investigation said, the Associated Press (AP) reported late Thursday. Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, had escaped late Friday after cutting through a steel wall using power tools.
Joyce Mitchell, an instructor at the prison tailor shop, had befriended the two convicted murderers and was supposed to pick them up Saturday morning, but did not turn up, the AP reported, citing the source, who added that this led to the concentration of the manhunt close to the prison.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated late Thursday that harsh penalty will be enforced on prison workers who cross their line. His comments came after suspicion of possible help for the convicts from someone inside the facility.
"If you do it, you will be convicted, and then you'll be on the other side of the prison that you've been policing, and that is not a pleasant place to be," Cuomo said, according to the AP, adding that investigators are "talking to several people who may have facilitated the escape."
Larry Jeffords, owner of Jeffords Steel and Engineering in upstate New York, which has done work at the prison facility, told the AP that the work of cutting through a cell wall and a steam pipe could be done only by a professional.
“It tells me either they are very good at what they do, with a lot of good training. Or they had very good equipment. Or somebody else cut the hole for them," Jeffords reportedly said, adding that cutting through the wall and pipe would have taken at least four hours of continuous work. He said that it was not possible that no one in the facility heard the noise, which was made while the men cut through the steel.
Meanwhile, investigators are reportedly checking a surveillance video from a gas station, about a mile away from the prison, after tracking dogs picked up the scent of the two escaped prisoners at the station, Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie said Thursday night, according to CNN.
"If this is an actual true lead that the dogs are following on, we hope to be successful in the next 24 hours," Wylie reportedly said. A reward of $50,000 for each inmate is being offered for any information leading to their capture.