Who Is Joyce Mitchell? The New York Prison Employee Was Questioned In Connection With The Prisoner Escape

DANNERMORA, NY - JUNE 6: In this handout from the New York State Governor's Office, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (R) is shown the manhole where two convicted murderers escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility June 6, 2014 in Dannemora, New York. Police are on a manhunt for Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, who escaped from the maximum security prison June 6, 2015 using power tools and going through a manhole. (Photo by Darren McGee/New York State Governor's Office via Getty Images)
Source: Handout/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The manhunt continued Tuesday for the two convicted killers who broke out of a Dannemora, New York, prison this past weekend, and officials have identified and questioned a female prison employee in connection with their escape. According to authorities, the elaborate scheme — which involved obtaining power tools, cutting through steel pipes in the middle of the night, and navigating a labyrinth of tunnels — indicated the two men, David Sweat, 34, and Richard Matt, 48, must have had outside help. So who is Joyce Mitchell?

The length of Mitchell's employment has varied in reports. ABC News reported Mitchell was an employee at the Clinton Correctional Facility supervising inmate work assignment since 2010. According to NBC News, Mitchell worked as an instructor in the prison's tailor shop, where both Sweat and Matt worked for eight years. Her husband, Lyle, also reportedly works at the prison as an industrial training supervisor, and their home is located roughly an hour away from the complex. Mitchell's son, Tobey, told NBC News his mother would never be the type of person to help prisoners escape, insisting she "loved sewing" and her job.

She is not the kind of person that's going to risk her life or other people's lives to let these guys escape from prison.
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Officials said Mitchell checked herself into a hospital on Saturday for "a case of nerves." That same morning, Sweat and Matt were reported missing. Citing a source close to the investigation, CNN reported Mitchell had planned to pick up the men in a getaway vehicle after they escaped but at the last minute changed her mind. Another source told CNN Mitchell's cell phone had been used to call people connected to Matt, though whether Mitchell or someone else made those calls is unknown. There were other prison employees besides Mitchell who were questioned about the escape, according to CNN.

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New York State is offering a $100,000 reward for information that leads to the two men's apprehension and arrest. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters all the prison's tools were found and accounted for following the escape, which indicated that Sweat and Matt must have received assistance.

They definitely had help. Otherwise, they couldn't have done this on their own, even from the equipment point of view.

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