CLIFTON COUNTY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo says bloodhounds caught the scent of two escaped killers, leading searchers to a rural area a few miles from an upstate New York prison.
For much of Thursday, hundreds of officers have been walking arms’ length apart through mixed terrain including muddy areas, woods and thick underbrush.
By late afternoon, Cuomo said he wasn’t sure if the dogs were still on the scent of Richard Matt and David Sweat, but the search is continuing.
The governor also says investigators are “talking to several people who may have facilitated the escape” from the Clinton Correctional facility.
The only person named so far is a civilian employee who apparently was supposed to be the escapees’ getaway driver but didn’t show up.
No one has been charged.
Clinton County Sheriff David Favro says more than 400 officers are continuing a grid search Thursday afternoon through a mostly rural area not far from the prison in northern New York where two convicted killers escaped last weekend.
Favro says several houses are located in the area where searchers are walking arms’ length apart through mixed terrain including muddy areas, woods and thick underbrush.
If the escapees aren’t found or the grid search completed, Favro says searchers will keep the area cordoned off Thursday night in the hunt for Richard Matt and David Sweat.
The sheriff says residents were sent a reverse 911 call Wednesday night advising them to lock doors, close windows and leave outside lights on.
He says there have been no reports of stolen or abandoned vehicles, break-ins or abductions.
Police say surveillance video shows two men picked up by a Philadelphia cabbie were not the escaped New York killers.
The cabbie alerted police Wednesday morning after driving men matching the descriptions of missing inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat to the city’s Amtrak station.
Police questioned the driver and reviewed surveillance video of the trip before determining they were not a match.
The 48-year-old Matt and 34-year-old Sweat were discovered missing Saturday.
Authorities say they used power tools to cut through a steel wall and break through bricks at the 3,000-inmate Clinton Correctional Facility in far northern New York. They say the men crawled through a steam pipe to an outside manhole.
Police are searching the woods a few miles from the maximum-security prison.
A person close to the investigation says authorities believe a New York prison employee was supposed to be the getaway driver for two escaped killers but didn’t show up.
The person tells The Associated Press that’s one reason the search is focused now in dense forest only miles from Clinton Correctional Facility.
The person says investigators believe prison instructor Joyce Mitchell befriended the men and was supposed to pick them up Saturday morning but didn’t. The person wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss the investigation and spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity.
Officials say Mitchell has been questioned and may have helped the men. She hasn’t been charged. Her son has told NBC that his mother wouldn’t have helped them escape.
David Sweat and Richard Matt escaped through holes cut in wall of their cells and an underground steam pipe.
Police have blocked off the main road outside a northern New York village as authorities concentrate their sixth day of searching for two escaped murders on a swampy area.
The area being searched is about 2 miles east of the prison where the convicts broke out last weekend.
State police have closed Route 374 Thursday morning as wells as other nearby roads just east of Dannemora, where 34-year-old David Sweat and 48-year-old Richard Matt used power tools to cut their way out of maximum-security Clinton Correctional Facility.
A police helicopter is flying over a heavily wooded area dotted with swamps. Local schools are closed and residents have been told to lock their doors.
The escape was discovered early Saturday morning by guards checking the inmates’ neighboring cells.
A Philadelphia cab driver says he picked up two men matching the descriptions of the killers who escaped from an upstate New York prison.
WCAU-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1FL7QzX ) police are questioning the cab driver, who says he dropped off the passengers at the city’s Amtrak station early Thursday.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey tells the station sightings have been reported in several cities and he has no reason to think the inmates are in Philadelphia.
More than 450 law enforcement officers have joined the search for 48-year-old Richard Matt and 34-year-old David Sweat. They have closed roads and schools near the prison.
The search also has expanded into neighboring Vermont.
A road east of Dannemora where Clinton Correctional Facility is located remains closed as police investigate a lead involving two escaped killers. New York State Police closed a stretch of Route 374 Wednesday night.
Troopers say the road is expected to remain closed through Thursday morning and residents are told to expect an increased police presence.
The 1,500-student Saranac Central School District called off classes Thursday because of all the police activity in the area just four miles east of the prison. District Superintendent Jonathan Parks says state police requested he close the schools.
The district offices are just a half mile from the prison’s walls.