How big was the NY prison escape plot?

Authorities are expanding their focus inside and outside the prison

Convicted murderers David Sweat, left, and Richard Matt, June 2015. (AP file)

(CNN) – After more than a thousand leads, authorities are expanding and shifting their search around upstate New York.

According to John Cuff, the former head of Northeast Fugitive Investigation Division, “These are criminals; they’re going to rely on what they know best. There’s no reports of any carjacking’s, any break-ins. That’s not to say they may not be holding someone at bay in a house somewhere.”

Former prison employee Joyce Mitchell, who investigators say gave the inmates, Richard Matt and David Sweat, tools to escape, is feeling the weight of her actions, according to her attorney, Stephen Johnston.

“She’s distraught, she’s very upset, and she’s very weepy,” said Johnson.

Mitchell’s husband Lyle worked in the same tailoring block inside the prison as his wife. Tuesday, he spent an hour visiting Mitchell in jail and had a private unmonitored conversation. Officials say she appeared to be comforted by the visit and he appeared supportive.

Johnson said, “All I know is he said he is standing by her so that’s what he told me when I spoke to him.”

However, Lyle’s lawyer says he has no plans to testify on her behalf. While both worked at the tailor shop, Mitchell had a sexual relationship with 49-year-old Richard Matt, dating as far back as 2013.

A source with direct knowledge of the investigation also told CNN that Mitchell was aware of a plot to kill her husband by the prisoners and she warned him that his life could be in danger.

Leading up to the elaborate escape, investigators say Mitchell may have agreed to be the duo’s getaway driver after Matt and/or Sweat then threatened both her and her husband.

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.

Comments are closed.