Authorities Seek Possible Accomplices In New York Prison Escape

| by Jordan Smith
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Authorities are questioning workers at a New York prison after two convicted murderers managed to escape over the weekend.

Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, got out by using power tools to cut through their cell wall, before traveling through a network of tunnels to reach a manhole outside the prison walls.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo explained that police had divided those employed at Clinton Correctional Facility in to three groups: guards, civilian workers and private contractors.

We’re going through [interviewing] all the civilians and contractors first," Cuomo told NBC’s “Today” show on Monday, according to the New York Post. "I’d be shocked if a corrections guard was involved in this. 

"But they definitely had help, otherwise they couldn’t have done this on their own."

The breakout was the first successful escape from the high-security area since the prison was built 170 years ago, the Daily Mail reported.

“There was major construction at the prison — a bunch of work crews for a variety of projects,” an anonymous source told the Post. “They are looking into every aspect of these crews, any connections they might have to these two prisoners. Was it a relative or a friend?”

Others suggested the pair could have had help on the outside too.

“To do all that, it would have to take weeks, if not months,” the source said. "This was well- planned and thought out for some time."

One potential accomplice was identified by Daily Mail as 51-year-old Joyce Mitchell, who works at Clinton Correctional Facility as an industrial training supervisor for prison workers. She was based in the tailoring department, where Matt and Sweat sewed uniforms for Metro workers.

Authorities claim she was close to Matt and Sweat, and that she checked in to the hospital the same day the escape was discovered with a case of nerves.

She's not going to risk her life or other people's lives to help these guys escape,” Mitchell’s son, Tobey, told NBC News, according to the Daily Mail. He added that she had been in the hospital with chest pains at the time.

While Sweat was serving a life sentence without parole for killing a police officer in 2002, Matt was handed 25 years to life imprisonment for torturing and killing his former boss in 1997.

Governor Cuomo has offered a reward of $100,000 for any information which leads to the recapture of these two men.

This is a crisis situation for the state," Cuomo told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Sunday, according to the Daily Mail. 'They're capable of committing grave crimes again.”

Sources: New York Post, Daily Mail / Photo credit: Daily Mail