It's been more than nine days, and New York law enforcement doesn't seem to be any closer to finding the two convicted murderers who escaped from the scariest prison in the state by crawling through a pipe.
Meanwhile, details in the press about the prison break have grown increasingly lurid, with rumors of large penises, sex on railroad tracks, and a bizarre spousal murder plot threatening to overshadow the manhunt itself.
At the center of it all is Joyce Mitchell, a 51-year-old civilian employee at Clinton Correctional Institute. On Friday, police arrested her; local prosecutors accuse her of smuggling hacksaw blades and assorted other tools into the facility sometime last month.
How would the two escapees, Richard Matt and David Sweat, have convinced a prison employee to help them? Well, a New York Post article from last week quotes a retired detective as saying Matt is "very handsome and, in all frankness, very well endowed. He gets girlfriends any place he goes." And the Daily Mail ran a story with quotes from Mitchell's former flames and co-workers describing her as a "serial cheat" who might have had sex on the railroad tracks near the factory where she used to work.
The size of Matt's dick and the nature of Mitchell's relationships are obviously difficult to confirm. But stuff like that makes for perfect tabloid fodder—as does the New York Daily News report Sunday that Mitchell confessed to prosecutors that the escaped prisoners planned to kill her new husband, and that she initially intended to accompany them as getaway driver. Instead, she checked herself into a local hospital around the time of the escape last weekend, reportedly complaining of panic-attack-esque symptoms.
Mitchell, who briefly appeared in court Monday looking sullen, is pleading not guilty to a first-degree charge of promoting prison contraband and a fourth-degree charge of criminal facilitation. She faces up to seven years in prison, and had reportedly been investigated in the past for being too close to Matt. Officials apparently decided at the time they didn't have the goods to remove her from the facility.
The New York Times reports that some 800 members of law enforcement have combed 8,300 acres surrounding the prison in the small town of Dannamora in upstate New York. There have been no confirmed sightings of the escaped duo, just lots of gossip, but the Clinton Correctional Facility remains on 24-hour lockdown.
Interested in maximum security prisons? Check out the VICE News documentary on the Salinas Valley State Prison in California.
"We keep calling the prison and they don't tell us anything," 25-year-old Geneva Perez, who regularly makes the trek upstate with three children to visit her husband, told the paper.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is asking New York's inspector general to begin an official probe of exactly what went wrong at Clinton, which is traditionally known as the place where the worst of the worst in the Empire State are sent to rot.
"It's the Dannemora mystery," Larry Fredette, a former corrections officer, told the Times. "Maybe we'll never know."
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