DANNEMORA, N.Y. – Governor Andrew Cuomo is offering a $100,000 reward for the capture or information leading to the capture of two murderers who escaped Saturday from Clinton Correction Facility in the village of Dannemora.
A $50,000 reward is being offered for each murderer.
Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, were discovered missing from their beds at a 5:30 a.m. bed check Saturday, Cuomo said in a news release.
The men carried out an elaborate escape plan that included cutting through metal pipes and walls using power tools.
Officials said the inmates cut through the steel wall at the back of their cells, crawled down a catwalk, broke through a brick wall, cut their way into and out of a steam pipe, and then sliced through the chain and lock on a manhole cover outside the prison.
Prison officials said they found the inmates’ beds inside their separate cells stuffed with clothes on Saturday morning in an apparent attempt to fool guards making their rounds. On a cut steam pipe, the prisoners left a note stating, “Have a nice day.”
Speaking on NBC’s “Today,” Cuomo said the men likely had help “from inside” to escape Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora.
“They couldn’t have escaped on their own,” he said.
Officials are investigating whether civilian employees or private contractors helped two murderers get power tools to escape from a maximum-security prison in upstate New York over the weekend, Cuomo said.
It was the first escape from the maximum-security portion of the prison.
More than 250 law enforcement officials were searching for the men as of Sunday afternoon, with help from forest rangers, New York State aviation unit, the FBI and U.S. marshals.
Matt is 6-feet tall, 210 pounds, with black hair and hazel eyes. He has tattoos on his back that say “Mexico Forever,” a heart on his chest and left shoulder and a Marine Corps insignia on his right shoulder.
Sweat, 34, is 5 feet 11 inches tall, 165 pounds, and has brown hair and green eyes. He has tattoos on his left bicep and right fingers.
Sweat is serving a sentence of life without parole after he caused the death of the death of a Broome County Sheriff’s Deputy on July 4, 2002. He was convicted of first-degree murder in Broome County and taken to the Clinton prison Oct. 30, 2003.
Matt is serving a sentence of 25 years to life after he kidnapped a male and and beat him to death Dec. 3, 1997. He was convicted of three counts of murder, three counts of kidnapping, and two counts of robbery in Niagara County. He was transferred to Clinton jail on July 10, 2008.
Both men are considered a danger to the public. Officials are warning people to not approach the men. Instead, call 911 or the New York State Police at 518-563-3761.