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One Prison Escapee Still at Large in NY

  • VOA News

New York State Police officers man a roadblock along Highway 30 near Malone, New York, as the manhunt for escaped convict David Sweat continues, June 27, 2015.

New York State Police officers man a roadblock along Highway 30 near Malone, New York, as the manhunt for escaped convict David Sweat continues, June 27, 2015.

Hundreds of heavily armed police officers in a remote part of New York state focused their hunt for a prison escapee on a heavily wooded area near the Clinton Correctional Facility.

Officials said convicted killer David Sweat may have a tougher time eluding authorities now that he is alone. They hoped he would be quickly worn down by lack of sleep, little food, biting bugs and another night of rain.

His fellow escapee, Richard Matt, who once vowed never to be taken alive, was shot and killed by police Friday.

The two men staged a spectacular escape from the prison three weeks ago.

Clinton County Sheriff David Favro said there was no evidence to suggest the two had split up before Friday's shooting, so searchers were concentrating their search on 22 square miles (56 square kilometers) of thick forests and heavy brush around where Matt was killed.

More than 1,200 police and federal agents have been trying to find the two men.

The manhunt broke open Friday when a person towing a camper heard a loud noise and thought a tire had blown. Finding nothing, the driver drove on before looking again and finding a bullet hole in the trailer. A tactical team responding to the scene of the gunshot smelled gunpowder inside a cabin and saw evidence that someone had fled.

A noise, perhaps a cough, ultimately did Matt in. A border patrol team discovered the escaped prisoner, who was shot after failing to obey a command to raise his hands.

Matt had a shotgun. He and Sweat apparently had been relying on the region's many hunting camps and seasonal dwellings for supplies.

Hidden Tools

The prisoners escaped with the help of tools hidden in packages of frozen hamburger meat that they received. Once out of their cells, they traveled through a maze of internal passages and catwalks built for prison maintenance work and eventually emerged from a sewer outside the maximum-security compound.

Two prison employees have been arrested for helping Matt and Sweat escape.

Gene Palmer and Joyce Mitchell are accused of helping to smuggle the tools, including hacksaw blades and bits for power drills, to the pair.

Matt, 49, was serving a sentence of 25 years to life for kidnapping and dismembering his former boss in 1997.

Sweat, 35, was serving a life sentence without possibility of parole for murdering a sheriff's deputy in 2002.

New York state had offered a reward of $100,000 for their capture, or half that amount for information leading to the return of one of the men.

Some information for this report came from AP.

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