A major highway in the state of New York was shut down early Thursday to facilitate the ongoing manhunt for two inmates, who escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, last week. Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, escaped from the maximum security prison late Friday after cutting through a steel wall using power tools.
The news comes after authorities said that the search for the convicted murderers had expanded to neighboring Vermont. The manhunt also prompted the Saranac Central School District, located about 2 miles south of the prison, to remain closed Thursday. Late on Wednesday, New York corrections officers were reportedly searching all vehicles in an area about 3 miles from the prison.
"Route 374 is likely to remain closed through the morning," New York State Police said in a statement, a local TV network reported, and asked residents to expect an increased police presence as they search for credible leads. The search was reportedly extended after police said that, before escaping, the men had discussed heading for Vermont, which is accessible by a ferry across Lake Champlain, about 40 miles south of the prison.
— Alex Pena (@AlexanderMPena) June 11, 2015
Hundreds of state, federal and local law enforcement agents were searching the area north of New York's rugged Adirondack Park, looking "behind every tree, under every rock and inside every structure" for the fugitives, New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico reportedly said.
New York State Police said Wednesday that the inmates may have had help from a female prison worker. Investigators also questioned an employee about the prison break but she was not arrested.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who announced a $100,000 reward for information leading to the inmates' capture, had said Monday that he suspects that the two convicts "definitely" received some help from someone inside the facility. Matt and Sweat, who were serving time for murders, are “dangerous people. … And they're nothing to be trifled with,” Cuomo said.