Female jail worker is quizzed over breakout by two killers
Two convicted murderers who used power tools to break out of a maximum security New York prison may have had help from a female staff member, according to reports, as a $100,000 (€70,000) reward was offered for information leading to their recapture.
More than 200 local, state and federal law enforcement officials set up roadblocks, took to the air and went door-to-door in their search for Richard Matt (48) and David Sweat (34), who went missing early on Saturday morning from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, about 20 miles south of the Canadian border.
New York state officials are investigating whether a civilian staff member or contractor helped the pair of convicted murders to escape from the maximum-security prison near the Canadian border, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
"I would be shocked if a guard was involved, and that's putting it mildly," Mr Cuomo told CNN. "But we're looking at the civilian employees now and the private contractors to see if possibly if a civil employee or contractor was assisting the escape because they wouldn't have equipment on their own, that's for sure."
A female employee of the facility was interrogated by investigators who viewed her as a possible accomplice, the 'New York Post' reported yesterday, citing unidentified sources who speculated that escapee Matt could have seduced his alleged accomplice. Former detective David Bentley, who investigated Matt's 1997 murder case, added, "When (Matt's) cleaned up, he's very handsome and, in all frankness, very well endowed. He gets girlfriends any place he goes."
New York is offering the $100,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of the men it describes as dangerous and have notified law enforcement in Canada and Mexico about the fugitives.
"We are leaving no stone unturned. They could be literally anywhere," New York state police major Charles Guess told a news conference.
"We presume that they may have had access to a vehicle as well, as they may have had assistance in their escape effort," Guess said.
A spokesman for the Ontario Provincial Police in Canada said an alert was issued to all police agencies to be on the lookout for the escapees. The two men in adjoining cells drilled holes in walls to break out of them.
They then went through a series of catwalks and tunnels, breaking through steel to clear prison grounds and escaping through a manhole on a nearby street, officials said.
They used clothing to make it look like they were in their beds and left a yellow note with a smiley face and the words "have a nice day" on steam pipe.
Authorities have found some of the simple instruments they used but not the power tools.
Authorities do not know how the two escapees acquired the tools but were checking to see if they came from contractors working for the facility.