Manhunt shifts to cabin in upstate New York: Prisoner hideout? – Christian Science Monitor

The latest sighting of two convicts who escaped from a New York prison now places them close to the Canadian border — more than 350 miles from where state police conducted their search less than a day before.

Investigators and military trucks arrived at Mountain View and Owls Head in Franklin County, N.Y., late Sunday in response to reports that a person had been seen fleeing from a hunting camp in the area after breaking into a cabin, Glenn MacNeill, acting Franklin County district attorney, told local NBC affiliate WPTZ.

Police said the sighting was unconfirmed, but authorities nonetheless shifted the hunt for Clinton Correctional Facility inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt from a rural mountainous area near the Pennsylvania border to upstate New York.

Witnesses told WPTZ that helicopters are in the air and checkpoints are in place on roads in the area, which is 25 miles west of the prison where the two inmates used power tools to cut holes through their cell walls to escape on June 6.

Still, state police said in a news release late Sunday that though they will continue to respond to reports of sightings, a “primary focus of the search continues to be in the Dannemora area,” close to Clinton Correctional. The statement urged Dannemora residents to stay alert, adding:

If these men are spotted, please call 911 immediately. Do not approach, as both are considered to be very dangerous….

New York State is offering a reward of $50,000 for information that leads to the capture of either suspect ($100,000 for both). The U.S. Marshals Service has placed Sweat and Matt on their 15 Most Wanted Fugitives List, and is also offering a $25,000 reward for information that leads to the capture of either suspect.

“We will search under every rock, behind every tree and structure until we are confident that that area is secure,” State Police Maj. Michael J. Cerretto said at a news conference.

Sweat was serving a life sentence without parole for killing a sheriff’s deputy, while Mr. Matt was doing 25 years to life for the 1997 kidnapping, torture, and murder of his former boss.

The Christian Science Monitor reported that prison worker Joyce Mitchell remained in custody on charges that she provided the two men hacksaw blades, chisels, and other tools to aid in their escape. She has pleaded not guilty.

Officials said a corrections officer also has been placed on administrative leave as part of the investigation into the men’s escape.

State police will hold a media briefing with Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wiley and County Sheriff Dave Favro on Monday at noon to provide updates on the search.


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