We've now entered the 12th day of the manhunt for the two convicted murderers who escaped from an upstate prison at the start of the month. Police say that despite more than 1,200 tips, officials still don't know where the men are and are blindly combing the area around Dannemora. While escaped killers Richard Matt and David Sweat remain at large, more and more information has come out about their alleged accomplice Joyce Mitchell, who has now admitted to having sex with Matt on several occasions.
According to CBS, prison tailor shop instructor Mitchell, 51, has told investigators that she and Matt (who has been described as very charismatic and "well-endowed") had sex on several occasions inside Clinton Correctional Facility. "Obviously, Joyce Mitchell went a step a further as far as her relationship with these two individuals," Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie said. "Whether it's showing them more attention than anyone else or them showing her attention or affection."
As for where (or how) they were able to arrange such rendezvous, former Clinton Correctional inmate Michael Alig gave the Post a rundown of the hottest places to have sex at the prison: "It’s easier to have sex with a woman [at the prison] than it is to have sex with a man,” said Alig. “The women are working on staff and they have access to private rooms...Like the storage rooms or the meat freezer. A lot of things happen in the meat freezer. Because there’s only one entrance, it can be locked, and there are no windows. Those places are known to everyone." Alig added that he never personally crossed paths with Matt, Sweat or Mitchell, though he was very impressed with the breakout.
Mitchell was also previously investigated for a sexual incident involving Sweat before she reportedly hooked up with Matt. It was reported this weekend that the two men planned to kill her husband after leaving prison: "Said the plan was to pick them up and go to her house. She didn’t say that she was going to help them" kill Lyle Mitchell. Although she was supposed to act as the getaway driver, Mitchell apparently got cold feet and checked herself into a local hospital for a "panic attack" the day of the escape.
It's still unclear whether Mitchell asked the two men to kill her husband or if they were planning on doing it anyway, but it is clear that Lyle Mitchell has no interest in supporting his wife now that all this has been revealed. His lawyer Peter Dumas told NBC that his client said, "There's no way I'm standing behind her."
"All I'd say is she's very upset. She's distraught," her attorney Steven Johnston said.
Mitchell was arraigned late Friday on the felony charge of promoting prison contraband and misdemeanor count of criminal facilitation. She was ordered held in jail on $100,000 cash bail or $200,000 bond on felony count.
Her job was to teach inmates at Clinton Correctional Facility how to sew clothes and repair sewing machines. Mitchell allegedly provided Matt and Sweat with hacksaw blades, chisels, drill bits and eyeglasses with lights affixed to them, which they then used to facilitate their dramatic breakout through the catwalks underneath the prison.
Some officials apparently believe Mitchell was being used by the two men, rather than part of the original breakout scheme. "They both played her," one police source told the Post, adding that Mitchell likely thought she was in love with Matt. NBC reports on Clinton County Sheriff David Favro:
Wylie said Monday that there was no evidence the men had a Plan B once Mitchell backed out, and no vehicles have been reported stolen in the area. That has led searchers to believe the men are still near the prison.
But Favro said Tuesday that while he has "no concrete information," he doesn't believe the escapees would have counted only on Mitchell for the ultimate success of their "elaborate, well-thought-out escape plan."
"My theory —my theory only — is that she was Plan B," he said. "I would have viewed her as baggage, almost, for them to be able to escape into freedom because she's leaving behind a family and a husband."
He said investigators won't be certain until the fugitives are caught.
But Favro said, "I find it difficult to believe right from Day One that they would go through that — probably took some time to really map together — and they would get out on the hopes that a civilian worker that they found would assist them in actually getting away."
Sweat, 34, was imprisoned for life for killing a sheriff's deputy in Broome County, and Matt, 48, was serving a 25-year sentence for killing and dismembering an upstate businessman. During their escape, they managed to cut through their cell's steel walls, traverse the catwalks in the prison's infrastructure, hack into a steam pipe that wasn't in use, and finally climb out through a manhole on the other side of the prison walls.
Police have released new renderings of the two men (see above) to show what they might look like after nearly two weeks on the lam. Appropriately, it turns out Matt is an amateur artist who loved making portraits of political and celebrity figures (you can see some of his work here). He was especially fond of Oprah: "She changed so many lives. Thank you, Oprah," Matt wrote on the signature line of the portrait.