New York Manhunt After Escaped Murderers Heats Up

Convicted murderers spotted as they elude massive manhunt, focus of search shifts to rural town of 2,000 people.

Ari Yashar ,

NYPD officers (illustration)
NYPD officers (illustration)

Two convicted murderers have eluded hundreds of police officers in upstate New York for over two weeks, but a recent sighting has shifted the search yet again after the two reportedly were seen along a railroad line on Saturday.

Richard Matt and David Sweat broke out of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Franklin County on June 6, and on Saturday someone reported seeing two men in the town of Friendship, in Allegany County, a rural locale home to just 2,000 people, reports CNN.

Around 300 police officers have been brought into the area with canine units and planes aiding in the hunt, Maj. Michael Cerretto of the New York State Police said.

Previously the police had been focused far to the southwest near the Pennsylvania border in Allegany County, but the search there has been concluded unsuccessfully police announced on Sunday.

Matt and Sweat have been put on the list of the 15 most wanted fugitives, with US Marshals Service Director Stacia Hylton noting the list "is reserved for the worst of the worst. There is no question David Sweat and Richard Matt fall into this category."

Following reported sightings in Allegany County, police warned residents to be on the alert and to avoid Matt and Sweat.

"Do not approach. Both are considered to be very dangerous," officials warned.

New details have also emerged indicating that a 51-year-old prison tailor shop instructor Joyce Mitchell aided the two in their escape.

Mitchell has been arrested for giving them various tools to escape after reportedly having sexual relations with Matt, a fact which led her husband Lyle who also works in the tailor block to say he feels betrayed, according to his attorney.