The two fugitives who staged a daring prison escape could either be in Vermont or still in New York, according to conflicting media report. Or, they could be elsewhere, officials said Thursday during a press conference that underscored the level of uncertainty law enforcement are experiencing during an ongoing, widespread search.
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin addressed the media to provide an update on the search’s status but said there was no new information to share. Speaking from Vermont Emergency Operations Center in Waterbury, Vermont, Shumlin was joined by members of the state law enforcement before asking residents, who he told would be subjected to a noticeable police presence, to be vigilant and patient with the search process and not to panic.
Calling the capture of the fugitives a “top priority,” Shumlin said “We are following every significant lead that we can.” However, “We have no credible threat that these escaped inmates are in Vermont,” Colonel Tom L’Esperance, of the Vermont State Police, said after Shumlin spoke.
On Wednesday, Shumlin indicated the escaped inmates – Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34 – might have come to Vermont because they thought the state lacked a vigorous police force. "We have information that suggests (they believed) New York was going to be hot, and Vermont was going to be cooler in terms of law enforcement, and a camp in Vermont was going to be a better place to be," Shumlin said.
The tattoos of escaped prisoners Richard Matt (top) and David Sweat are seen in a combination of undated photos released by the New York State Police.Photo: REUTERS
Reports emerged late Thursday morning that the two escapees had been “contained” in an area of New York state between Dannemora – where the men escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility – and the city of Plattsburgh, according to a report by the Albany Times Union.
Law enforcement swarmed the area along a major thoroughfare after search dogs reacted to a scent, calling it the “strongest lead” yet, according to the Times-Union.
A possible sighting Thursday morning of the inmates in Philadelphia was quickly debunked, according to a tweet from Tim Jimenez, a reporter at local news outlet KYWN.
Police confirm possible sighting of 2 escaped NY killers in Philadelphia is unfounded. Men on surveillance not the convicts. @KYWNewsradio
Matt and Sweat escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility either Friday or Saturday, by cutting through steel walls, squeezing through a steam pipe and exiting out of a manhole. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that the duo "definitely" had help with the escape. A reward of $50,000 for each inmate has been offered for any information leading to their capture.