New York prison worker charged with helping convicted killers escape

SARANAC, NEW YORK (BNO NEWS) -- A New York prison worker has been arrested and charged for allegedly providing material assistance to two inmates who escaped from a maximum-security facility nearly a week ago, state police said on late Friday as an intense manhunt continued.

Joyce Mitchell, 51, of Dickinson Center, New York, was arrested on Friday afternoon and charged with Promoting Prison Contraband in the 1st Degree, a class D Felony, and Criminal Facilitation in the 4th Degree, a class A misdemeanor. She faces up to 8 years imprisonment if found guilty on both counts.

Major Charles Guess, of the New York State Police, said Mitchell had been cooperating with investigators, but he would not provide details on what sort of material assistance the prison worker had allegedly provided. The woman's husband, who also works at the prison, has not been arrested in connection with the jailbreak.

More than 800 law enforcement officers and corrections officers continued to search for the escaped inmates on Friday, with authorities now focusing on areas surrounding the facility. "We do not have conclusive evidence that either of the inmates has left this area," Guess said. He said that there have been no confirmed sightings since the prisoners escaped.

"We have a message for David Sweat and Richard Matt: We're coming for you, and we will not stop until you're caught," he said.

Sweat, 34, and Matt, 48, escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora in the early morning hours of June 6, though investigators believe they escaped several hours before their disappearance was detected. They had used power tools to cut through the steel back wall of their cell, allowing them move in small spaces along a series of pipes before reaching a nearby street through a manhole. The men also left behind a taunting note, saying "Have a nice day!"

Sweat was serving a sentence of life without parole following his conviction in Broome County for one count of Murder in the 1st Degree after he caused the death of a Broome County Sheriff's Deputy in July 2002. He was transferred to Clinton Correctional in October 2003.

Matt was serving a sentence of 25 years to life following his conviction in Niagara County for three counts of murder, three counts of kidnapping, and two counts of robbery after he kidnapped a male victim and caused his death by beating him on December 3, 1997. He had been housed at Clinton Correctional since July 2008.

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