DANNEMORA, N.Y. — Search teams hindered by cool, rainy weather combed through woods for an 11th day trying to track down two escaped murderers on Tuesday as one official raised doubts the escapees relied solely on a now-jailed prison worker to help them get away after their breakout.

More than 800 law enforcement officers who are searching for convicts David Sweat and Richard Matt shifted their focus eastward along Route 374 leading from the village of Dannemora, home of the Clinton Correctional Facility, in far northern New York.

State police said Tuesday the manhunt will be expanded beyond where it’s been most intense, 16 square miles of woods, fields and swamps around a road where search dogs caught the scent of both men and searchers found evidence indicating they may have spent time there.

Clinton County Sheriff David Favro said rain has been washing away any scent dogs might find and interfering with thermal imaging devices.

Matt and Sweat escaped June 6. Meanwhile, the prison worker charged with helping the killers flee by providing them with tools was visited in jail by her husband, also a prison worker.

Favro described Joyce Mitchell as “composed” during the morning visit with her husband, Lyle Mitchell.


Prosecutors say Joyce Mitchell, a prison tailoring shop instructor who befriended the inmates, had agreed to be the getaway driver but backed out because she still loved her husband and felt guilty for participating.

District Attorney Andrew Wylie said Monday that there was no evidence the men had a Plan B once Mitchell backed out.

But Favro said he doesn’t believe the escapees would have counted only on Mitchell.

“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.”

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