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Regional News

DA says prison employee cooperating; did not provide escaped convicts with power tools

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Clinton County District Attorney's Office

Update at 5:59 p.m.:

New York State Police say a worker at an upstate New York maximum-security prison has been arrested on charges she helped two convicted killers escape.

Fifty-one-year-old Joyce Mitchell was arrested and will be arraigned on charges of first-degree promoting prison contraband and fourth-degree criminal facilitation, state police said.

Mitchell is accused of befriending inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora and giving them contraband.

Earlier Post:

The DA would not specify the prohibited items that Mitchell allegedly supplied but said they weren't the power tools that David Sweat and Richard Matt used to break out last weekend. Wylie also said that in the months before the breakout, Mitchell was investigated over suspicions she had a relationship with one of the men.

Mitchell, a 51-year-old instructor at the prison tailor shop, is not in custory, has not been charged, and has been cooperating with investigators.

“Initially it was minimal information. And then each day we are 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,” said Wylie.

The DA also said that Mitchell could face a felony charge eligible up to seven years in state prison, based on what authorities know now.

But Wylie emphasized that charging Mitchell is not the focus right now.

“Our first priority is to get these two men into custody. Hopefully they don't harm anyone in our community or anyone outside of our community,”

Meanwhile... About 500 state, federal and local law enforcement officers have been searching for the convicts today for the seventh day.

New York State Police say more than 800 law enforcement from state, local and federal agencies are assisting in the search for Matt and Sweat. State police say that number is necessary to provide rest periods for the officers.

And in Syracuse Friday, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) says federal authorities issued a national warrant for them, which he says will do two things -- if they are arrested they will come right back to New York state, and federal authorities, particularly, the U.S. Marshals Service throughout the country are looking for them. And he said there's a chance that Matt and Sweat will be put on the most wanted list.