The manhunt for convicted murderers David Sweat and Richard Matt intensified in the western part of New York state as hundreds of police officers were following another alleged sighting of the two near the town of Friendship.
Friendship – situated more than 280 miles southwest from the city of Dannemora where the two criminals escaped the Clinton Correctional Facility three weeks ago – was scurried throughout Sunday afternoon by a high numbers of police officers, with the search winding down by nightfall. However, New York State Police patrols stayed in the area, with checkpoints being instated on major roads.
The city came under attention of the state police after a witness allegedly spotted men who looked like the two escaped murderers hiking on a railroad line which went through Friendship on Saturday. After a lengthy interview it was decided that this lead was worth following, but no other results suggesting the two had even passed through Friendship were found to date.
New York State Police Major Michael Ceretto, who directed the manhunt in the city and its surroundings, has declared that the search and investigation will be continued until all possible leads in Friendship and its surroundings will be checked. More than 300 police officers were dispatched for the searching operations.
As the search for the duo enters its third week, with the Friendship sighting being the closest hint at their whereabouts since the jailbreak, more details are emerging about the exact way in which Sweat and Matt escaped from the Clinton Correction Facility.
The two managed to drill a hole in their cell’s wall with electric tools which were left by contractors during multiple nights. One of Clinton’s corrections officers named Gene Palmer was put on administrative leave after it was revealed that he might have played a part in the escape.
Palmer, who had been working at Clinton for the past 28 years, reportedly had close ties with the two, whom he had contact with often as he was assigned to the “honor block”, a group of cells including that of Sweat and Matt. Palmer’s house was searched by state police on Friday night.
There is no information about the exact role that Palmer played in the duo’s escape, but his attorney Andrew Brockman insisted that his customer was not aware of their plan of escaping. Another prison worker, 51-year old Joyce Mitchell, is also currently investigated for actively helping the two escape the facility.
Image Source: Reuters