A female prison worker suspected of conspiring with two murderers to carry out a 'Shawshank'-style escape from a New York prison reportedly agreed to drive the getaway car but lost her nerve at the last minute.
Detectives believe Joyce Mitchell, an employee at the Clinton Correctional Facility, may have fallen for the charms of one of the men and agreed to pick them up after they escaped, according to CNN.
Her mobile phone was reportedly used to call several known associates of Richard Matt, a 48-year-old who was serving a life sentence for using a hacksaw to dismember his ex-boss.
Mrs Mitchell was questioned by police and is being "somewhat co-operative", a law enforcement source told CNN. She has not been charged with a crime and her son, Tobey Mitchell, strongly denied that she was involved in the prison break.
"She is not the kind of person that's going to risk her life or other people's lives to let these guys escape from prison," Mr Mitchell said.
Five days after Matt and David Sweat dug and cut their way out of prison, police seem no closer to finding the fugitives and more than 400 officers are continuing house to house searches in upstate New York. They are currently retracing the escapees' steps in Dannemora, about 30km from the Canadian border.
"They'll be doing a 100pc sweep from the prison right out, see how that goes," said David Favro, the sheriff for Clinton County, where the prison is located.
Law enforcement officials reiterated their plea for the public's help in reporting anything unusual in the area.
"We don't want them out searching the woods," Sheriff Favro said. "But if you're sitting on your porch, get your binoculars out and see if you see something unusual."
A search in a rural town about 50km from the prison turned up no sign of the convicts. The search was prompted by reports of two men seen walking late on Monday during a driving rainstorm along a road in Willsboro, near Lake Champlain.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers swept through the small Adirondack foothills town. Searchers walked shoulder to shoulder, wearing bulletproof vests and carrying sidearms as they went through hilly woods, fields and swamps, checking every home, garage, shed and outbuilding, then yelling, "Clear!" when there were no signs of the inmates.
Sweat (34) and Matt cut through a steel wall, broke through bricks and crawled through a steam pipe before emerging through a manhole outside the prison grounds.