Two prisoners who escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in northern New York last weekend are still on the loose. North Country Public Radio reports that at least 300 tips have come in so far, but authorities still have no idea where Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, two convicted murderers, actually are. NCPR says state troopers and corrections officers have converged on the Village of Dannemora in New York searching for the pair, setting up multiple roadblocks. NCPR's Brian Mann says hundreds of police have also searched the woods and neighborhoods around the prison itself. And The New York Times reports authorities are looking in Willsboro, a small town about 40 miles southeast of Dannemora, as well.
As we previously reported, the two men cut through cell walls with power tools. They then got out of the facility, which is near the Canadian border, through a steam pipe. Matt and Sweat even left dummies in their cots, to fool guards during "bed checks" that occurred every two hours.
NCPR's Brian Mann reports the two most likely had help in escaping, but no one knows that for sure just yet:
"A lot of the speculation suggests that they might have had help from a love interest, someone of that kind. Much of the official focus has been placed on whether someone working inside the prison may have aided them. These are big questions. How did they have the resources to pull this off? Matt has been in New York prisons for seven years and Sweat for thirteen years. So they've been in and off the street for a long time."
Mann also told our Newscast Unit that much of the investigation has focused on workers at Clinton Correctional Facility, who enter and leave the prison every day.
Upstate New York residents are saying they've seen Matt and Sweat in the area. CNN reports two Dannemora residents say they saw the men in their backyard, shortly after midnight on Friday. And the New York Times says there were reports of a sighting of the prisoners on foot in Willsboro early Tuesday morning.
Richard Matt was convicted of beating a man to death in 1997. David Sweat murdered a sheriff in 2002. But CNN reports the two may have changed their behavior behind bars, saying the two were "in the prison's 'honor block' for those who have gone years without significant disciplinary action..."
New York State Police are requesting those with information to call their tip line. On Monday, they published the following description of the suspects:
"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.
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.
Both are considered to be a danger to the public. If located DO NOT approach them. Contact 911 immediately."