New York prison break: Police search for convicted murderers stepped up after two weeks on run

Police have confimed that they are investigating an 'unconfirmed' sighting 240 miles from the prison the two men escaped from close to Pennsylvania

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The Independent US

Police have stepped up their search for two convicted murderers, currently on the run after they escaped from a New York state prison two weeks ago, after a possible sighting of the men in a new search area.

The search centred on the town of Friendship, about 280 miles southwest of the Clinton Correctional Facility that the Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped from. Both were serving life sentences for murder.

“We will continue to search this area until all leads have been exhausted,” Michael Cerretto, a New York state police major, said on Sunday.

“As we have in other areas of this state, we will search under every rock, behind every tree and structure until we are confident that that area is secure,” Major Cerretto added.

According to police, a witness spotted two men with similar descriptions to the escapees on a railroad line close to Friendship on Saturday. The sighting is currently “unconfirmed,” however.

Around 300 officers are searching the area, where New York State’s border meets Pennsylvania. Road blocks have been set up and a secure perimeter established in an effort to contain the criminals.

The reported sightings of the two fugitives are the latest development in the incident after Gene Palmer, a corrections officer at the prison, was suspended in connection with the escape.

Mr Palmer’s lawyer, Andrew Brockway, said that his client was cooperating with investigators and that “Any information he has that will aid in the capture of Matt and Sweat will be given to law enforcement.”

“He looks forward to going back to work as soon as possible,” Mr Brockway added.

The two inmates cut through their cell walls and crawled through a steam pipe before leaving through a manhole outside the prison. The pair was discovered missing during a morning bed check on 6 June.

Additional Reporting: Reuters