N.Y. Prison Break Update: DNA Found In Rural Cabin, Joyce Mitchell Allegedly Hid Tools In Frozen Meat Shipment
David Sweat and Richard Matt are now believed to be hiding in a rural town in upstate New York, and new details are emerging about how Joyce Mitchell helped provide them tools for their escape.
Did NY Prisoners Smuggle Tools In Frozen Hamburger Meat?
It is now believed that Mitchell, who worked at the Clinton Correction Facility and supervised inmates Sweat and Matt at the prison’s tailor shop, smuggled tools inside the prison for Matt and Sweat by hiding them in hamburger meat. According to sources, Mitchell convinced a corrections officer to allow the meat into the prison without going through the metal detector – a violation of protocol. Matt and Sweat were housed in the honor block for their previous good behavior, and, as such, were allowed to cook their own meals. The convicted killers allegedly retrieved the tools from the hamburger meat easily, and then used them in their elaborate escape on the night of June 5.
On Friday, it was announced that a guard at the high security prison from which Matt and Sweat escaped has been put on administrative leave. A spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections announced the news as related to the prison break, but declined to provide further information.
“A correction officer was placed on administrative leave this evening as part of the ongoing investigation into the escape at Clinton Correctional Facility. Due to the ongoing investigation, additional information is not available at this time,” said the spokeswoman.
Many assume that the guard in question is the one who allowed the frozen hamburger meat to be delivered to the honor block without going through the metal detector, and the guard was later identified as Gene Palmer, 28, by his attorney. “Right now Mr. Palmer is fully cooperating with any or all questions that are being asked of him. He spent 14 hours yesterday and he was completely forthcoming,” said attorney Andrew Brockway on Sunday.
Palmer has not yet been charged with a crime, and his attorney suggested that if he did, somehow, contribute to Matt and Sweat’s escape, it was unwittingly. Mitchell, on the other hand, is currently behind bars after being charged with promoting contraband and criminal facilitation.
DNA Evidence Moves Search To Rural NY Town
As more details of their escape emerge, police are changing their search area after finding DNA evidence in an abandoned cabin on Black Cat Mountain in upstate New York. The search has converged onto the small town of Owls Head and the surrounding area of Mountain View after a witness saw someone running from the cabin on Saturday, June 20. Owls Head is barely 30 miles away from where Matt and Sweat escaped, much closer than the previous search area located on the complete opposite end of the state, over 350 miles away.
“It’s a confirmed lead for us. It has generated a massive law enforcement response, as you can see, and we’re going to run this to the ground,” confirmed New York State Police Maj. Charles Guess.
Sources revealed that authorities found prison-issue underwear in the cabin, as well as bloody socks and fingerprints belonging to one of the prisoners, but those reports have not been confirmed.
Meanwhile, Matt and Sweat were placed on the 15 Most Wanted fugitives list by the U.S. Marshals Service on Thursday.