© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Hunt For Fugitives Moves Into Seventh Day

As the search for two escaped murderers continues, searchers are scouring an area mere miles from the maximum security Clinton Correctional facility.  As WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports, state representatives are monitoring the manhunt and expect an intensive review once Richard Matt and David Sweat are captured.

Separate investigations are continuing into how Sweat and Matt managed to obtain power tools and cut through walls, steam pipes and exit into a village street through a manhole. Prison employee Joyce Mitchell is being questioned and is thought to have aborted her role as the getaway driver.

Speaking to Time Warner Cable News Friday morning, Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie said Mitchell did not bring power tools into the facility, but did supply other contraband. But he added they are learning more each day about her role in the escape plan.  “Initially it was minimal information. And then each day we’re learning more and more information from her as far as what her involvement was; what her relationships were with both Matt and Sweat. And from that we’re just developing leads that we continue to investigate.”

The region’s legislators are closely following the situation.  State Senator Betty Little was in New York City on Saturday when news of the escape broke and met with corrections officials at Dannemora a day later.  “They’re all in shock that day as to how this happened and how this could have happened under their watch.  It’s difficult for everyone concerned.”

The prison is in Assemblywoman Janet Duprey’s district and she is a member of the Corrections committee. She was at the prison Saturday and is continually being updated.  She says post-escape analysis will occur after Matt and Sweat have been found.   “All of our focus has to be on getting these guys behind bars.  You know those discussions will certainly take place at the right time.”

Little also expects that once the inmates are captured there will be an intensive review of prison procedures.   “One of these inmates had been there 12 years. One had been there 7 or 8 years and they were portraying themselves as ideal inmates. When you do things like that you do get rewarded and you get onto an honor block, where they were. So everything will be looked at.  But the first thing we have to do is get ahold of these guys. Get them back in prison. And then look at the Monday morning quarterbacking. Is there something else that needs to be done?”

Assemblyman Dan Stec’s district includes Willsboro, where a search for the escapees occurred earlier this week.  While the priority is capture, he says a thorough investigation into the incident is necessary for two reasons.  “One to assign blame if there’s blame that needs to be doled out from this and it’s looking like that’s a good chance. That needs to happen.  But also to learn from and to take corrective action not only at this facility, but is there a systematic or is there a larger issue that would apply overall that we can learn from and change policies or procedures to avoid something like this happening again.  So the next step after apprehension is certainly going to be investigation and then if there’s charges that need to be brought to other individuals that’s something the justice system will take care of. Then DOCS needs to go through their procedures and policies and see if there was a breakdown where it was and how things can be strengthened.”

Once captured, Clinton County DA Wylie recommends the duo be incarcerated in a different facility.  He hopes that in the aftermath of this escape innovative methods of monitoring and tracking prisoners can be mandated.  “Maybe we can do something to affect a better understanding or better means of what we have to do. Such as consider putting GPS units on each of these inmates in these facilities so if there ever comes a time that they escape, well then, they can be detected. There’s some measures that I think people would feel would be drastic. But from this I hope we can develop a future plan and a future process to not only avoid this but takes measures if it does occur that we can bring the individuals back into custody a lot quicker.”

The search remained concentrated in the Cringle Road area of Cadyville on Friday morning.

Related Content