Video: Prison break an inside job?

Residents in Dannemora remain on alert as police try to find two escaped murderers from the local prison. Did they get help from an inside source? The New York state police have named a prison employee in contact with both men “a person of interest,” according to the New York Daily News, after she checked herself into a hospital for “a case of nerves”:

Investigators are now grilling civilian employees and private contractors working at the prison to see whether any of them provided Matt and Sweat with tools, sources said.

One of them is Joyce Mitchell, 51, who works as an industrial training supervisor in the tailoring department.

Cops questioned Mitchell and her husband, who also works in the prison, on Saturday, according to neighbors.

“They were going through her trash,” said one neighbor, who would not give her name.

Investigators are checking whether Mitchell had a personal relationship with one of the men, sources said.

ABC has more on Mitchell and her possible connection to the escape. Plus, one lucky couple confronted the two inmates shortly after their escape, but didn’t realize it until later:


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Richard Matt and David Sweat were on the “Honor Block” at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, before they elaborately escaped from their cells Saturday morning, a source told ABC News. And investigators say they are now looking into whether the inmates’ looser restrictions may have played a role in their escape.

The Honor Block gives well-behaved inmates certain privileges regarding laundry, cooking, phone use and recreation, according to state Department of Corrections regulations.

Honor Block inmates can even work as assistants to plumbers and electricians, a source said.

So as it turns out, the convicts didn’t need to arrange a set of clothing for their escape. That allowed them to pass for lost pedestrians in the immediate minutes after their escape. Prison uniforms might have alerted officials to the escape five hours earlier, and would have warned the couple in this video from confronting them in this manner. Perhaps that’s one perk on the “honor block” that should be rethought in the future.

Also, it apparently didn’t occur to prison officials that the honor block might not be the best place for someone who had tried to escape prison twice before — once successfully:

The daring weekend escape from a New York maximum security penitentiary – the facility’s first prison break – marked at least the third time convicted murderer Richard Matt has moved to bust out from behind bars. …

Matt’s only son told the Buffalo News that his father had a history of prison escapes.

“He has escaped before,” Nicholas Harris, 23, of Angola, New York, was quoted as saying.

Matt fled upstate New York’s Erie County Correctional Facility in 1986. He scaled a wall and gate topped with razor wire that slashed his forearms and remained on the loose for five days before he was caught at a family apartment in Tonawanda, New York, near Buffalo, his son told the newspaper.

His other escape attempt was less successful, earning Matt a bullet in the shoulder once he’d reached the roof of a Mexican prison. Clearly, he’s not daunted by the use of force. The search broadened today for the pair, who so far have managed keep at least one step ahead:

Authorities scoured farms and fields around an upstate New York town on Tuesday, looking for a pair of convicted murderers who escaped from a nearby prison days earlier, local officials said.

Corrections officers, New York State Police troopers and Essex County Sheriff’s Office deputies took part in the search in Willsboro following a report of two suspicious individuals, said Nancy Crowningshield of the sheriff’s office.

The effort began early Tuesday, following something that happened overnight, according to Willsboro Town Supervisor Shaun Gillilland, who added it’s unclear exactly what prompted it.

A town of 2,000 people on Lake Champlain, Willsboro is about 30 miles south of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, where Richard Matt and David Sweat were reported missing at 5:30 a.m. Saturday.

Meanwhile, there’s one man who’s tired of getting calls about this escape and others like it. “It’s like calling Leo DiCaprio every time a boat sinks.”