Did NY prison worker’s husband know of escape, murder plans?

Authorities looking for fugitives Richard Matt and David Sweat, who escaped from a New York prison 11 days ago, have searched 16 square miles — more than 10,000 acres — and have developed more than 1,400 leads, New York State Police Maj. Charles Guess told reporters Wednesday.

Guess reiterated what state police said Tuesday: that authorities are expanding the search to other areas surrounding Dannemora, New York.

“We have no information that they have been able to leave the area,” said Capt. Robert LaFountain, of the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

That doesn’t mean that they didn’t escape the search area, LaFountain said.

Asked if authorities miscalculated by spending so much time searching near the Clinton Correctional Facility, the state police captain added, “Absolutely not. We (had) to start from … point zero.”

As of now, investigators have no information that Lyle Mitchell — husband of the arrested Joyce Mitchell — had prior knowledge of the escape or actively assisted in it, Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie said.

His wife is accused of helping two convicted murderers break out of a New York prison. And the escape plan, a source says, also included a plot to kill him.

But how much did Lyle Mitchell know?

That’s one of the multitude of questions investigators are asking as they search for the two fugitives in a massive manhunt that was expanding Wednesday.

A source with direct knowledge of the investigation told CNN that prison tailor shop instructor Joyce Mitchell knew the two inmates had plotted to kill her husband, told him about their plans to break out of the facility and warned him that his life could be in danger.

But a lawyer representing Lyle Mitchell said the husband, who also worked in the prison’s tailoring block, was kept in the dark.

“He didn’t know anything about the escape plan,” attorney Peter Dumas said.

At this point, investigators don’t believe Lyle Mitchell was involved in plotting the escape, the source with direct knowledge of the investigation said.

On Tuesday, Lyle Mitchell was face to face with his wife for the first time since her arrest last week. She’s accused of sneaking hacksaw blades, chisels, drill bits, a punch and other contraband into the convicts’ hands before they broke out.

The couple spent an hour together and were separated by glass, speaking over a phone in a private, unmonitored conversation, Clinton County Sheriff David Favro said.

Lyle Mitchell was supportive, and his wife seemed comforted by his visit — the first she’d had since her arrest, the sheriff said.

“He’s providing support,” Dumas said. “He’s not planning to testify on her behalf.”

Joyce Mitchell’s attorney, Stephen Johnston, said he did not know what the two talked about. He described his client’s state of mind as “distraught, very weepy and very upset.”

Dumas said Lyle Mitchell is also struggling to deal with what’s happened and the revelation that “possibly there was a plan to do some harm to him.”

“He’s very confused. It’s just a lot that’s been thrown on his plate right now,” Dumas said. “He’s kind of reeling.”

Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie has not commented much on the husband, other than to say he’s under investigation.

Investigators are looking at other prison employees as well and haven’t ruled out that they may have played a role in the escape, the source with knowledge of the investigation said.

Officials are also investigating whether other inmates might have helped create some type of diversion before, during or after Matt and Sweat escaped, the source said.

Joyce Mitchell has pleaded not guilty to the two charges brought against her and has been talking to authorities. If convicted, she could face up to eight years behind bars.

Authorities are investigating whether the two inmates threatened Mitchell to force her to help, a New York state official briefed on the investigation told CNN. Investigators say they think Mitchell began getting cold feet about executing the plan but possibly had agreed to supply a getaway car because of threats to her and her husband, the official said.

But her relationship with the prisoners was years in the making, authorities said.

She’d been investigated in the past for an inappropriate relationship with Sweat that led corrections officials to move him out of the tailor shop in 2013 and keep them separated, said Wylie, the district attorney.

That’s the year when she started having a sexual relationship with Matt, the source said.

The sexual relationship took place at the tailor shop in the Clinton Correctional Facility, the only known place the two were together, the source said.

With few clues pointing toward where Matt and Sweat went after they escaped, investigators are changing tack.

The search stretched into day 12 on Wednesday. The area that hundreds of law enforcement officers are combing is expanding, New York State Police said Tuesday evening.

Teams will be redeployed to new areas near the prison in Dannemora, New York, police said, saying the shifting search zone was based on information uncovered in the hunt for the fugitives.

“They’ve covered all the square footage over 10,000 acres, and covered it very well, so that we’re confident that that area is cleared, and we’re going to be moving on into a couple other areas that are fairly close to that search area just in case they are still here on foot,” Favro, the Clinton County sheriff, told CNN’s “New Day” on Wednesday.

More than 800 local, state and federal officers have been combing the dense woods and small towns in the area. Canine units are still searching for a scent that might lead police to Matt and Sweat, who escaped from the maximum-security facility known as “Little Siberia” in upstate New York on June 6.

“We’re putting our heart and soul into this,” Favro said of the search. “I’m confident that we’ll be able to get these two.”

But after earlier promising leads went cold, officials aren’t even sure they’re looking in the right place.

The fugitives could have made it across Lake Champlain to Vermont, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he talked to his counterpart there to thrash out a “cooperative agreement” for the search.

Another possibility is Canada, whose border lies just 20 miles north of the prison.

But Jonathan Gilliam, a former FBI agent who has led manhunts, says the killers wouldn’t try to drive past border checkpoints — and going on foot through the thick woods is even harder.

“It’s kind of a harsh environment, cold at night,” he told CNN. “They’re instantly setting themselves up for a fall.”

Searchers are scouring parts of the Adirondacks in upstate New York, a 6 million-acre wilderness at the doorstep of the prison. It’s filled with hundreds of cabins, many of them abandoned in the off-season.

Investigators think Matt and Sweat could be holed up in one of them. Or, they warn, the pair could invade a home and take hostages.

But Gilliam says that would be “a big chance to take.”

“If you do that, even if you leave, now you’ve set a footprint for the police to latch onto,” he said.

According to authorities, Joyce Mitchell says Matt and Sweat told her they planned to drive to an unspecified destination about seven hours away.

She backed out of the getaway plan, and it’s unclear what other options the killers had in mind. But driving for that length of time at an average speed of 60 mph would put big cities like Boston, New York and Philadelphia within reach.

Those environments might be easier ones in which to disappear.

“People are very aware of who’s around them” in small towns, said Gilliam. “They’re very aware of what other people are doing. Once you get into a larger city, people just stop paying attention.”

Even farther afield is Mexico, a possibility that Cuomo mentioned over the weekend.

The country, about 2,000 miles away, features in Matt’s past.

In 1997, he murdered a man near Buffalo, New York, and then fled to Mexico, where he killed another man before being captured.

He had “Mexico Forever” tattooed on his back, police say.

Authorities are offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the escaped inmates’ arrests.

It’s not clear how much money has been spent, but judging from the boots on the ground, it can’t be cheap.

New York State Police say 1,200 leads have developed, but so far it’s not clear whether any of them will pan out.

And time may be increasingly on the killers’ side.

“You can’t sustain this type of a manhunt for very long,” Gilliam said. “It’s just too much of a vacuum of all other resources.”

One of world's longest racetracks planned in Pahrump by 2020
The racetrack will be 16 miles long by the year 2020 according to Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club owner John Morris. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Henderson police bodycam footage of officer-involved shooting
Henderson police released body-worn camera footage of an officer-involved shooting in a grocery store parking lot at 2667 Windmill Parkway on Aug. 12, 2018. (Henderson Police Department)
Robotics takes off at Las Vegas Academy
Las Vegas Academy’s robotics team made it all the way to the world competition last year, the first year the team competed. Zackary Perry describes how they programmed their robot to compete. The team is an example of what Tesla wants to have in every school in the state. (Meghin Delaney/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bicyclist suffers major head trauma in hit-and-run
A bicyclist was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after a Thursday morning hit-and-run crash near the school formerly known as Agassi Prep. Police said the bicyclist was hit by a white SUV, which fled the scene. The injured man suffered multiple injuries including major head trauma. As of 9 a.m., Lake Mead remained closed between Martin Luther King and Revere Street while police investigate.
Las Vegas artist Dave Dave dies at 42
Dave Dave talks about his art and his life in 2016. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dave Dave, whose dad set him on fire in 1983, dies
Dave Dave, a respected Las Vegas artist who was badly scarred as a boy when his father tried to burn him to death in Southern California, died at Sunrise Hospital on July 15. He was 42. When he was 6, Dave's father tried to kill him by setting him on fire. He was given a sleeping pill and his bed at a Buena Park, California, motel was doused with kerosene. “I remembered being in a lot of pain,” Dave told the Review-Journal in 2016. “When stuff happens to you at that young of an age, you tend to block it out, but I remember the pain was excruciating.” Dave, who was born David Rothenberg, became close friends with Michael Jackson, who met him after the attack, which burned more than 90 percent of his body. “I wanted to meet him, and he wanted to meet me, and that just turned into a lifelong relationship that never ended,” Dave said. “It was amazing being friends with Michael Jackson. He was an amazing person.” Dave attended ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, and collaborated with various artists around Las Vegas, eventually selling his art to private collectors. Despite his challenges, he continued to live, thrive and create. Dave Dave
Homicide detectives investigate woman's death
Las Vegas police were called to Tahiti Village Resort early Wednesday after calls that someone had been shot. Police found a woman’s body between a parking garage and boiler room on the resort's property. A guest first reported hearing gunfire. There are no witnesses, but police will examine surveillance videos and look for clues. The woman was not identified, but a purse was found near the body. She did not appear to be a guest at the resort.
LVMPD Discusses Ross Dress for Less Shooting
LVMPD Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank discussed the 15th officer-involved shooting of the year at a press conference at Metro headquarters on Tuesday, Aug. 14. The active-shooter incident took place at the Ross Dress for Less store at the 4000 block Blue Diamond Road in the south Las Vegas Valley. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County School Board president Deanna Wright on travel expenses
Clark County School Board President Deanna Wright says she followed proper expense protocol in trip to Florida last year.
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Shooting leaves 1 dead in southeast valley
A man was found fatally shot in the doorway of a squatter apartment after an argument ended in gunfire on Sunday night. Officers responded about 10:30 p.m. to the Silver Pines apartments and discovered the man in a breezeway in one of the buildings. The wounded man died at the scene, despite the efforts of another person, who tried to administer medical aid. Witnesses saw a man and a woman flee the scene, but were unable to give police a clear description.
North Las Vegas unveils new school crosswalk
North Las Vegas councilman Isaac Barron talks about the new school crosswalk in front of CP Squires Elementary School Monday, August 6, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
LVMPD Briefing on OIS #13
Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly held a press conference to discuss details of the 13th officer-involved-shoot for the department in 2018. Video shows the moments before the suspect was shot. The shooting, which has been edited out, occurred as the suspect lunged at an officer outside the apartment. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sedan and semitrailer collide in south Las Vegas
An early Wednesday morning crash has left one person in critical condition. A sedan and semitrailer collided around 4 a.m. at the corner of Spencer Street and Serene Avenue. Police do not believe impairment is a factor in the crash. Spencer has been blocked off north of Serene while police continue their investigation.
Cybersecurity Professionals Flock to Las Vegas for Black Hat
Black Hat USA, the largest annual cybersecurity conference, is expecting a record 17,000 attendees during its six-day run at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center this week. One thing attendees have in mind is making sure they don't get hacked while they're there. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police chase ends with suspects captured in east Las Vegas
An early Tuesday morning chase ended with a car crash in an east Las Vegas neighborhood. Police were pursuing the vehicle, which they say was involved in robberies in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, when the driver crashed at Owens and Statz Street. A man was taken into custody. A woman was ejected from a vehicle and taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The intersection at Mojave Road and Owens Avenue was shut down while police officers searched for the suspect and investigated. The intersection will remain closed for most of the morning.
Record number participate in Touro University Nevada White Coat Ceremony
Three hundred sixty-five medical students received their white coats during the Touro University Nevada White Coat Ceremony at the M Resort in Henderson Monday. The ceremony was developed to honor students in osteopathic medicine, physician assistant studies, nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy as they accept the professional responsibilities inherent in their relationship with patients. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stop for school buses, urges CCSD
Clark County School District Police Department hold a mock traffic stop at Centennial High School in Las Vegas, Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Work Begins at Las Vegas Community Healing Garden
Crews moved the wooden Remembrance Wall at the Las Vegas Community Healing Garden on South Casino Center Boulevard Monday. Construction on a permanent wall is set to begin within the week. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Man wounded outside Cottages apartment
Las Vegas police don't have a motive after a man was shot early Monday morning outside a northwest valley apartment. The man's mother called police to say her son had been shot. She called police around 1:15 a.m. Other people were inside the apartment but no one else was injured. Police are still looking for the shooter.
Ride new Interstate 11 segment in one minute
Interstate 11 opens to the public Thursday, providing sweeping views of Lake Mead, art deco-style bridges and a mural illustrating the construction of Hoover Dam. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Miss El Tiempo 2019
Miss Teen El Tiempo and Miss El Tiempo 2019 were crowned at Sam's Town Saturday, August 4, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Las Vegas Woman Raises Awareness for Anxiety and Depression
Cassi Davis was diagnosed with anxiety and depression after the birth of her second child. After seeking help and support, she felt that there wasn't enough for support for those living day in and day out for those with mood disorders. She created the Crush Run, set for Sept. 22, to raise money for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and bring together a community of people who live with the same conditions she does. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
North Las Vegas marks the opening of Tropical Parkway connector
The City of North Las Vegas, Nevada Department of Transportation and other partners celebrated the opening of the Tropical Parkway connector to Interstate 15 and the Las Vegas Beltway. The stretch of road will make access easier for distribution centers for Amazon, Sephora and other companies moving into an 1,100-acre industrial area rising near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bighorn sheep with West Temple in background at Zion National Park
A bighorn sheep walks through Zion National Park (National Park Service)
Adult Superstore location closes after 45 years
The Adult Superstore on Main Street has closed its doors for good after 45 years. The shop, which offered a multitude of adult toys, novelty items and movies, opened in 1973. Four other locations remain open. A note on the front door tells customers, “We can’t fully express our sorrow.” Adult Superstore was awarded Best of Las Vegas adult store by the Review-Journal in 2016 and 2017 .
Funeral held for Las Vegas corrections officer
Department of Public Safety Correctional Officer Kyle Eng died July 19 after a fight with an inmate at the Las Vegas Jail. A funeral was held for Eng at Canyon Ridge Christian Church Monday, July 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What Back-To-School Shopping Is Like For a CCSD Parent and Teacher
Laura LeBowsky, a CCSD special education teacher and mother of two, set out to shop for her children's supply lists at her local Walmart and Target. She was looking for deals to try to keep the total under $150, while also allowing Chloe, 8, and Brady, 6, some choice in what they wanted. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Businesses struggle to fill food manufacturing jobs
Chelten House is a family-owned food manufacturing company from New Jersey. They created a facility in Vegas five years ago and have struggled to find experienced workers in the area. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like