The manhunt for two prisoners who escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility over the weekend continues.

UPDATE: 06/15/2015  6:30pm  State Route 374 will remain closed, according to New York State Police, between General Leroy Manor Road and Rand Hill Road until Monday night, June 15, 2015.

The Saranac Central School District is announcing that classes will be in session.  A written post on the district's website reads as follows:

"In consultation with New York State Police leadership, we have decided that school will be in session tomorrow, June 15th.  The safety of students and staff is our first priority. To that end, we have arranged for an enhanced law enforcement presence on our campuses between the hours of 7am and 5pm.  

There will be an increase in moving patrols on previously closed roads during bus pickups and during drop-offs.  All of our routes will be open to buses and families are encouraged to have their children wait inside until the bus arrives in the morning, especially in active search areas.
All outdoor activities are suspended until further notice.
Please be assured that we will do all that we can to help everyone feel safe while they are at school."

State Police say that more than 13 square miles (8,300 acres) have been scoured by law enforcement authorities.  More than 870 leads have been developed.  Police, however, still have no idea where David Sweat and Richard Matt are.

UPDATE: 06/14/2015 8:18am The search area continues to expand.  However, the majority of the more than 800 law enforcement personnel deployed in the search are stll concentrating in the area located in the "shadow" of the prison from where the convicted killers escaped.

UPDATE: 06/13/2015 5:45am  After a night of driving rain and tornado watches throughout central and upstate New York authorities cannot say that they are any closer to locating David Sweat and Richard Matt.

UPDATE: 06/12/2015 11:38pm  Bail for Joyce Mitchell has been set for $100,000.

UPDATE: 06/12/2015  6:39pm   At a press conference held at Saranac Junior / Senior High School New York State Police announced that 51-year-old Joyce Mitchell, of Dickinson Center has been arrested and formally charged with the following:

  • promoting prison contraband, a felony
  • criminal facilitation (fourth degree), a misdemeanor.
The formal charges came after days of questioning after which it was determined that Mitchell allegedly provided "material assistance to Richard Matt and David Sweat to assist them in escaping from Clinton Correctional Facility."
UPDATE: 06/12/2015 2:27pm  Helicopters are flying low over wooded areas.  Witnesses report an even greater police presence along Route 374.

UPDATE: 06/12/2015 11:25am The manhunt remains focused, according to New York State Police, in the Dannemora / Plattsburgh area, specifically along State Route 374.  State Route 374 will remain closed between General Leroy Manor Road and Rand Hill Road until further notice.

In a written release authorities say that more than 800 law enforcement personnel are actively engaged in the search.  "The extra manpower," troopers say, "...is necessary to ensure that rest periods are being provided for the members. Officers and Forest Rangers from the Department of Environmental Conservation, as well as officers from the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, FBI, U.S. Marshals, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Clinton and Essex County Sheriff Departments and the Plattsburgh Police Department are all providing assistance in the search. All available assets are being deployed around the clock, including K9 and aviation units. More than 700 leads have been developed at this point in the investigation."

UPDATE: 06/12/2015  8:48am The Saranac Central School District says that classes are schedule to resume on Monday, June 15, 2015.

UPDATE: 06/12/2015 6:03am  The Albany Times Union and CNN are reporting that 51-year old Joyce Mitchell, an instructor in the prison's tailor shop, has now admitted to assisting the inmates with their escape, allegedly providing her cellular telephone and power tools.  CNN is quoting Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie as confirming the information.

UPDATE: 06/12/2015  6:39am School is closed in the Saranac Central District again today.  School buses are being used to transport law enforcement personnel and their gear.

UPDATE: 06/11/2015 8:35pm  No new information is being reported by law enforcement agencies or witnesses in the area.

UPDATE: 06/11/2015  6:32pm  There are no significant updates to report.  Law enforcement personnel continue the manhunt in Cadyville, Dannemora, and surrounding areas.  At this time classes are scheduled to resume at Saranac Central schools in the morning, although WIBX will continue monitoring to see whether that changes overnight.

UPDATE: 06/11/2015 12:53pm  Route 374 remains closed.  There are numerous reports that dogs have picked up a scent trail of the prisoners.  That, however, has not been confirmed by State Police.

UPDATE: 06/11/2015 12:32pm Schools in and around Dannemora are being told to close as the search for convicted killers and prison escapees Richard Matt and David Sweat intensifies.

A notice on the website of the Saranac Central School District, located in Dannemorareads as follows:

"In order to assist law enforcement personnel with their search efforts, and due to the closure of a number of roads in the District, all schools in the Saranac Central School District will be closed today.  Classes are scheduled to resume on Friday, June 12, 2015."

Earlier in the week the school had taken precaution to protect students and staff.

Outdoor activities were cancelled.  Students who take the bus to school were told that they could remain in their homes until the bus arrived.  In addition, state troopers have been posted at every school.

UPDATE: 06/11/2015  9:45am An earlier report that a cab driver had taken the two men to a train station in Philadelphia is now being called "unfounded" by authorities.

MetroSource is reporting that investigators reviewed surveilance video and determined that the men taken to the train station by the cab driver were not Sweat and Matt.  They have said that tracking dogs picked up a "strong scent" of the two men near Cadyville, New York, and are searching there.

UPDATE: 06/11/2015  9:18am NBC10 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is reporting that a cab driver told police that he picked up Richard Matt and David Sweat early this morning and dropped them off at a train station in downtown Philadelphia.

The driver is being questioned by police.

UPDATE: 06/11/2015 5:43am There may be a development in the case this morning.  Route 374 east of Dannemora is closed between General Leroy Manor Road and Rand Hill Road in West Plattsburgh as authorities follow a lead in the case.  More than five hundred leads are being investigated by police.

In a statement issued by New York State Police this morning troopers say, "Route 374 is likely to remain closed through the morning.  Residents can expect an increased police presence in that area."  A detour has been set up along General Leroy Manor Road and Rand Hill Road.

Route 374 in Dannemora, New York by Google Maps via www.google.com/maps

UPDATE: 06/10/2015 5:03pm   The governors of New York and Vermont are now working together to find convicted killers Richard Matt and David Sweat.  Both appeared at a press conference in Dannemora today.

A press release issued late this afternoon by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin's office reads as follows:

"...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.”

Vermont and New York State Police have been working cooperatively on the search since the escape Saturday of convicted killers Richard Matt and David Sweat.

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." 

UPDATE: 06/10/2015 4:05pm  In Dannemora Governor Cuomo says, "I am confident we will find them.  The only question is when."



UPDATE: 06/10/2015 1:35pm  Governor Andrew Cuomo is said to be headed to Dannemora to give an update on the manhunt and situation in Essex County.

UPDATE: 06/10/2015 12:53pm  More than fifty digital billboards throughout New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania are being donated by Lamar Advertising for use by authorities searching for Richard Matt and David Sweat.

 

Photo Credit: New York State Police

UPDATE: 06/10/2015 11:45am  At a press conference today State Police announced they will be searching homes in Dannemora.  In a written statement the NYSP says, "These searches are not the result of a new lead, law enforcement are retracing steps made early in the investigation. Residents will notice an increased police presence in the area.  If members of the public see anything unusual upon arriving at their residence or seasonal homes, they are asked to contact law enforcement immediately."

UPDATE: 06/10/2015 6:35am   Richard Matt's half-brother Wayne Schimpf tells Fox News that he has been afraid for several years that Matt would escape from prison again given his history.  Schimpf says he testified against Matt during a murder trial in 2008.  He told Great Van Susteren on her program "On the Record" that "a very dangerous man...[who] has nothing to lose."

UPDATE: 06/10/2015 05:03am  After searching all night police say they are no closer to finding escaped convicts Richard Matt and David Sweat this morning.  Several employees of Clinton Correctional remain under investigation.  Authorities say they believe that the men are still in the "shadow" of the prison in Dannemora.

UPDATE: 06/09/2015 9:31pm State Police are continuing their search of wooded areas and going door-to-door in homes in Clinton and Essex Counties.  K9 Teams are an integral part of the search effort.

UPDATE: 06/09/2015 4:50pm  According to a statement just released by New York State Police more than 440 law enforcement personnel are now engaged in the search for the two escapees from Dannemora.

The NYSP says that viable leads are being followed at this hour "along the Clinton and Essex County border and residents will notice an increased police presence in this area."

Police are now going door to door in and around the Willsboro area and checking homes and seasonal residence.  Troopers ask that "(i)f members of the public see anything unusual upon arriving at their residence or seasonal homes, they are asked to contact law enforcement immediately...The State Police have deployed all available assets in an effort to ensure the safety of the public."

Willsboro is located approximately 34 miles southeast of the Clinton Correctional Facility from where the prisoners escaped.  That, according to Google Maps, translates into an approximately eleven hour walk.

Graphic and Walking Directions: Google Maps google.com/maps

 

UPDATE: 06/09/2015 3:40pm  New York State Police and tactical teams are lining up along portions of a wooded area along Route 22 near Willsboro.

WIBX post: Where is Willsboro?

UPDATE: 06/09/2015  3:36pm  Multiple news sources are reporting that New York State Police have "cornered" the suspects in the Essex County town of Willsboro, New York. While police are confirming that they are in Willsboro "actively searching" for Richard Matt and Davis Sweat, but have not provided confirmation that the men are "cornered."  police were tipped off by witnesses who saw two men walking down the street "in the middle of a thunderstorm."

A source close to the investigation tells WIBX that tracking dogs have picked up the scents of the escapees in the vicinity.  At this time no official statesment has yet been made by the NYSP.

UPDATE: 06/09/2015  3:34pm New York State Police continue to search vehicles along designated checkpoints.

Photo Credit: New York State Police
Photo Credit: New York State Police

UPDATE: 06/09/2015 6:23am  Additional photos have been released showing the tattoos on the men.  A report has surfaced indicating that the men were seen walking through the backyard of residents.  The homeowners confronted the men, one of whom was carrying a guitar case - later reported to have come from the prison cell of one of the escapees - telling them to get out of the backyard.

Security along the United States' border with Canada has also been increased.

Here are photos of the tattoos:

Richard W. Matt Tattoos Photo Courtesy: New York State Police
David P. Sweat Tattoos Photos Courtesy: New York State Police

UPDATE: 06/09/2015 4:43am  Authorities say they are no closer to finding escaped prisoners Richard Matt and David Sweat this morning.  They have, however, expanded their questioning of employees at Clinton Correctional Facility.  Officials say the pair undoubtedly had help from outside the facility in executing their escape.

The public is reminded not to approach these individuals as they are considered to be extremely dangerous.  At this time it is not to be assumed that they are together.  They may have also changed their appearance.  Anyone who notices anything suspicious, or who notices a vehicle missing, is urged to contact police immediately.

UPDATE: 06/08/2015 9:25pm   The manhunt continues.  In a written release issued by New York State Police today authorities say that there are more than three hundred leads that have developed and they are investigating each one.

UPDATE: 06/08/2015  4:59pm There are no updates available at this time.  No insight has been given into the outcome of the questioning of a female employee, believed to be a civilian employee, of the prison. Authorities say they continue to follow all credible leads.

UPDATE: 06/08/2015 6:54am Joe LoTemplio from the Press Republican in Plattsburgh joined WIBX First News with Keeler to discuss the situation.  He said that, for the citizens of Dannemora, having the prison in town "...is just a way of life.  Obviously, this is a big deal... but most people don't believe that those inmates are still in the area."

For the full interview with LoTemplio see the 6:00am hour of the WIBX First News with Keeler Show Notes for June 8, 2015:

WIBX First News with Keeler Show Notes

UPDATE: 06/08/2015 4:33am New York State Police say there is no new information to report.  They are still following leads and searching for Matt and Sweat.

UPDATE 06/07/2015 7:02pm The manhunt continues.  Authorities say that there are no significant developments about which they can report at this hour.

Authorities have confirmed that a female employee of the prison is being questioned about the escape of the prisoners.

New photos have been released which include profiles of the two convicted murderers:

Photo Credit: New York State Police

New York State Police have released a statement which includes the following:

"More than 150 leads have been developed since the escape was reported. State Police, DOCCS, and federal investigative personnel as well as surrounding agencies are following up on each lead. Several aircraft from state and federal agencies are also being utililzed.

The State Police currently have approximately 100 personnel which includes uniform, investigative and specialty units on the ground actively searching and following leads. State Police continue to coordinate with several other local, state and federal agencies. At this time, more than 250 corrections and law enforcement officers are involved in the region and additional investigative services are being applied statewide and nationally. All available assets are involved in this effort.

These are very dangerous individuals. The State Police ask that the public make no hesitation to report any suspicious activity; if you see something, say something. Contact 911, your local law enforcement agency, or the New York State Police to report any information related to this investigation at (518) 563-3761 or 1-800-GIVETIP. Tips can also be sent by email to crimetip@troopers.ny.gov."

UPDATE: 06/07/2015 4:41pm Police are stopping and searching cars along checkpoints. Authorities are asking that anyone who has missing vehicles in the upstate New York area contact them immediately.

UPDATE: 06/07/2015  3:32pm  Governor Andrew Cuomo's office says that there are more than 250 law enforcement personnel engaged in the search for escaped convicts Richard Matt and David Sweat.  A reward of $100,000 is now being offered by the State of New York for information leading to their capture.

In making the announcement Cuomo said, "Today we are asking for the help of the public as we continue our search to arrest these two individuals...They are convicted murderers and our first order of business is to ensure they don't inflict any more pain on the community. We are urging anybody who sees them or knows anything that may assist our investigation to contact the State Police as soon as possible. With the public's help, we will return these men to where they belong – behind bars."

UPDATE: 06/07/2015 11:32am New York State Police are searching in the Saranac area.  A roadblock has been set up along Route 3 as they continue to search for the escapees.

Photo Courtesy: Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

UPDATE: 06/07/2015 8:03am Roadblocks are still established in outlying areas and along the perimeter of Dannemora.  On ABC's "Good Morning America" Governor Andrew Cuomo reiterated the fact that it was really an "elaborate" prison break plan.   Of the fact that other inmates had to hear what was going on Cuomo says, "They were heard, they had to be heard."  They worked their way down four stories from the catwalk."  Cuomo says they are reaching out to the families of the victims.  "The first order of business is to get these killers back."  The inmates left behind a note that said, "Have a nice day."

[EDITOR's NOTE: In the video provided by the Governor Cuomo's office of his tour you will note that at approximately the :16 second mark he addresses an incarcerated man saying, "Must have kept you awake with all that cutting..."]

UPDATE: 06/07/2015 7:29am   Governor Cuomo will appear on ABC's "Good Morning America" at 8:00am to discuss the situation in Dannemora.

UPDATE: 06/07/2015 7:19am  The suspects are still considered at large and dangerous this morning, Sunday, June 7, 2015.

UPDATE: 06/06/2015 10:36pm The escaped prisoners have not yet been found.  The search is still active.  State Police say they are actively following several leads.

UPDATE: 06/06/2015 5:23pm The Office of Governor Cuomo has released video and photos of his walk through in Dannemora.

The Governor's walk through took place earlier today prior to the press conference this afternoon.

UPDATE: 06/06/2015 3:36pm Hundreds of state and federal law enforcement personnel are now engaged in the search for Richard Matt and David Sweat.

Governor Andrew Cuomo held a press conference at the Dannemora facility this afternoon:

Some highlights from this afternoon's press conference:

  • This is the first escape from the maximum security portion of Clinton Correctional.
  • The two inmates were in adjoining prison cells.
  • A hole was cut in the back of one of the cells.  The inmates are believed to have travelled via a catwalk that was approximately six stories high.
  • The inmates had power tools which they used to cut through walls and pipes, cutting through a steam pipe and escaping into the street through a manhole.
  • Governor Cuomo visited the cells himself to see what the inmates had done and how they escaped.

Anthony J. Annucci, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, is describing the escape as "a very elaborate plan," and says that they are only at the very beginning of their investigation.

Major Charles E. Guess, Troop B Commander of the New York State Police, says they are conducting a "full investigation" which includes more than 200 law enforcement personnel.  The NYSP is receiving assistance from local, state, and federal law enforcement including the FBI, New York State Department of Correctional Services, U.S. Marshal's Service, New York State Forest Rangers, Clinton County Sheriff's Office, Franklin County Sheriff's Office, and the Clinton County District Attorney's Office, tactical units, SWAT units, K-9 units, three aerial support aircraft, two New York State Police helicopters, and one aircraft from the Department of Homeland Security.  Guess says, "We are putting on the full court press, and of chief concern is the safety of the community and the citizens of the state of New York."

Governor Cuomo said, "This is quite an unusual occurrence...It was an elaborate plot...So this was not easily accomplished...The Commissioner of Corrections is going to undertake a full investigation.  We want to find out exactly how it happened...(There was the) suggestion that they needed power tools to accomplish this.  How did they get the power tools?  From who?  How?  So we'll undertake a full investigation to make sure that this was the first time and the last time anyone escaped from this facility."

Cuomo complimented the local police and all law enforcement personnel and again asked for the public's help locating the two escapees.  He said that there are "a number of leads" being investigated by state police.

Responding the a question from a reporter, Annucci said they do not yet know how the inmates acquired the power tools.  He said an internal inventory that they have conducted shows that all prison tools have been accounted for.  He indicated that the facility has "a lot of outside contractors," however, that do repair work.   Both he and Cuomo indicated that the facility's age requires constant maintenance, and it is possible that the prisoners used trial and error to gain knowledge of system of pipes and possible means of egress in the structure.

Cuomo:…By definition, it was an extraordinary act. And when you look at how it was done, it was extraordinary. I mean, we went through the tunnels. You look at the...precision of the operation. It was truly extraordinary. And unusual. And almost impossible to duplicate.

Cuomo said that the prisoners left behind clothed bundles that make it appear as though they were in their prison bunks sleeping.  The bundles may have had hooded sweatshirts on which, Cuomo says, is usual.

"There is no doubt that it was an extraordinary act.  I mean you have a facility that opened in 1865.  Just think about it.  This is the first escape from the maximum security portion of the institution ever, since 1865.  So, by definition, it was an extraordinary act.  And when you look at how it was done, it was extraordinary.  I mean, we went through the tunnels. You look at the...precision of the operation.  It was truly extraordinary.  And unusual.  And almost impossible to duplicate."

UPDATE: 06/06/2015 1:56pm  Police are conducting a house-by-house sweep in Dannemora as they continue to hunt for the suspects.

UPDATE: 06/06/2015 1:35pm Ken Knelly with SUNY Plattsburgh says there are no plans to issue a lockdown for the campus, which is believed to be far enough away to be be considered out of reach for the suspects at this time.

UPDATE: 06/06/2015 12:29pm  Officials say the search for the two suspects is still active.

UPDATE: 06/06/2015 11:01am Authorities say there is no information available about a potential for a lockdown in the Dannemora area.  Authorities at Clinton Correctional are not releasing any information at this time.

UPDATE: 06/06/2015 10:53am New York State Police say no additional information is available at this time.  The two suspects have not yet been located.  Officials have confirmed that aircrews have been deployed to search the area.

UPDATE: 0606/2015 10:50am At this time no lockdown order has been put in place by security officials at SUNY Plattsburgh.  WIBX's calls to the Plattsburgh Police Department have been referred to the New York State Police.

Clinton Correctional is New York's largest maximum security prison and has been the temporary home of such notables as "Lucky" Luciano and Tupac Shakur.

UPDATE: 06/06/2015 0938 WIBX has learned that Governor Andrew Cuomo is headed to the Dannemora area in response to the incident.

Original Story:

According to New York State Police two prisoners were unaccounted for during a bed check that was conducted at 5:45 this morning, June 6, 2015.

The description of the two prisoners is as follows:

Richard Matt, 48 years old, a white male, 6’ tall, 210 pounds, with black hair and hazel eyes. He has tattoos on back “Mexico Forever”, a heart on his chest and left shoulder, and a marine corps insignia on his right shoulder.

According to a written release, Matt, who has been at the Clinton Correctional Facility since July 10, 2008, "...is serving a sentence of 25 years to life following his conviction in Niagara County for three counts of murder, three counts of kidnapping, and two counts of robbery after he kidnapped a male victim and caused his death by beating him on December 3, 1997."

David Sweat, 34 years old, white male, 5’11” tall, 165 pounds, brown hair and green eyes. He has tattoos on his left bicep and his right fingers.  Sweat, who has been at Clinton Correctional since October 30, 2003, "...is serving a sentence of life without parole following his conviction in Broome County for one count of Murder 1st  Degree after he caused the death of a Broome County Sheriff’s Deputy on July 4, 2002."

Authorities say that both are considered to be a danger to the public.

On April 15, 2008 the Niagara Gazette reported that it took a Niagara County Court jury just four hours to find Richard Matt guilty on several felony charges including kidnapping and murder.  According to the article, "After listening for almost four weeks to more than 30 witnesses, nine women and three men decided Matt is the cold-blooded killer that prosecutors call him instead of a guy being set up by a former friend as his defense contends."

If anyone has information pertaining to the whereabouts of these men he or she is asked to call 911 immediately or New York State Police at: (518) 563.3761.

In addition, officials are asking that anyone who saw or heard anything this morning in the Dannemora area is asked to contact police.  Vehicles which are also unaccounted for should also be reported.

Photo Credit: Google Maps 06062015 google.com/maps

The Clinton Correctional Facility is located at 1156 Cook Street in the Clinton County  village of Dannemora, New York.  The village, which is about 15 miles west of Plattsburgh, has a population of about five thousand.  Dannemora is surrounded by the Adirondack Park but is not considered to be a part of the park because of its prison.

The prison, constructed in 1844, and opened in 1865, is considered "New York's Siberia," because of the cold temperatures in Dannemora, a region which experiences frost even in the summer.


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