Manhunt For Escaped Killers Shifts After Possible Sighting

FRIENDSHIP, N.Y. (AP) -

Investigators tracking two murder convicts who escaped from an upstate New York prison scoured a rural area Sunday near the Pennsylvania border after possible sightings shifted the search across the state.

Meanwhile, David Sweat and Richard Matt were added on Thursday to the U.S. Marshals Service’s 15 Most Wanted fugitives list.

Marshals Service Director Stacia Hylton says the list is reserved for “the worst of the worst” and Sweat and Matt qualify.

Sweat was serving a life sentence in the killing of a sheriff’s deputy. Matt was serving 25 years to life in the beating death of his former boss.

Police concentrated the search near the town of Friendship after someone reported spotting two men near a railroad line 350 miles from the prison that Sweat and Matt fled near the Canadian border. Until Saturday, the search was concentrated in a several-mile radius around the prison in the Adirondacks.

Authorities said Friday that two men fitting the descriptions of Sweat and Matt had been seen a week ago walking near a rail yard in Erwin, and then seen the next day in Lindley, heading toward the Pennsylvania border.

“We will search under every rock, behind every tree and structure until we are confident that that area is secure,” State Police Maj. Michael J. Cerretto said at a news conference Sunday.

The two men are “very dangerous” and should not be approached, state police said. Several roads around Friendship were blocked off, and police used helicopters and search dogs

“I was a little concerned. You have these guys running around. You don’t know where they are,” resident Darryl Ross said. “I have a house with a big cellar and a big garage. I cleared the house. I had firearm protection.”

Prison worker Joyce Mitchell remains in custody on charges she helped the two men escape by providing them with hacksaw blades, chisels and other tools. On Friday, a second corrections officer was also placed on administrative leave as part of the investigation into the men’s escape.