On June 17, 2015

Govs. Shumlin and Cuomo urge vigilance

Richard Matt, David Sweat

Manhunt continues for upstate N.Y. escapees; intensifies in Vermont

On June 10, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin urged residents of their states to remain vigilant as the manhunt continues for two escapees from the Clinton Community Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y.

Convicted killers Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, escaped late Friday or early Saturday, June 5 or 6, from the maximum-security prison using power tools and tunnels.

By Thursday, June 11, police had largely narrowed their search efforts to a five-square-mile area just east of the prison from which they escaped. However, they are also following up on hundreds of leads in the larger area, none of which have proved to be strong.

Gov. Cuomo contacted Gov. Shumlin late this morning with new information suggesting  the escapees initially planned to flee into Vermont after the jailbreak, although there is no evidence that the two have followed through on that plan.

“We have no indication that the individuals are in Vermont, but given this new information we are taking all necessary steps to ensure the safety of Vermonters,” said Gov. Shumlin at a press conference at the Dannemora prison. “Everyone should be vigilant, and report suspicious activity to law enforcement.”

Rensselaer County Jail officials told reporters that Joyce Mitchell, a jail worker accused of helping two convicted murders escape an upstate New York prison, has been moved to a lockup in another county. Prosecutors say the prison tailor shop instructor befriended the men and gave them small tools that they used to escape. Police suspect that Mitchell was also planning to be their getaway driver but didn’t show up, leaving the men on foot early on the morning of June 6.

Governors Shumlin and Cuomo advised residents not to approach anyone resembling the escapees, who are considered dangerous.

Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn said patrols have been increased and up to 100 troopers are available for action if needed.

Fliers featuring photos of the two men will be distributed in key areas, and patrols are checking seasonal camps for suspicious activity. In addition, he said, a state police tactical team is ready to respond anywhere in the state based upon mission needs, and VSP marine patrol units are deployed on Lake Champlain out of the St. Albans, Williston, and New Haven barracks. Vermont State Police can also tap the resources of the Vermont National Guard when the need arises, Flynn said.

Photo submitted

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