New York prison break timeline

CNN —  

Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, setting off one of the largest manhunts in recent history.

They were discovered missing from the cells on June 6. After a three-week-plus search involving hundreds of officers, the saga came to an end Sunday with Sweat’s capture, two days after Matt was shot dead.

This is how it all went down:

June 5

10:30 p.m. – Matt and Sweat are seen during that night’s “standing count,” authorities say.

June 6

5:30 a.m. – Matt and Sweat are missing during the morning count, according to New York State Police. It becomes clear the two have escaped.

• Prison officials guide Gov. Andrew Cuomo through the prisoners’ escape route.
• Authorities say the men obtained power tools and used them to escape.

June 7

• The U.S. Marshals Service issues federal arrest warrants for Matt and Sweat.
• Cuomo announces a $100,000 reward for information leading to the pair’s capture.
• “They could be literally anywhere,” Maj. Charles Guess of the New York State Police says.

June 8

• Cuomo says Matt and Sweat must have had “the assistance of someone.”
• A law enforcement source tells CNN a female employee at Clinton Correctional Facility is being questioned as a possible accomplice.

June 9

• The Essex County Sheriff’s Office announces that authorities are searching farms and fields around Willsboro, New York.
• A law enforcement source tells CNN that Matt and Sweat are likely on foot.
• A source with knowledge of the investigation tells CNN that the cell phone of a prison tailor, Joyce Mitchell, was used to call several people connected to Matt. It’s unclear when the calls were made or if Mitchell was aware her phone was being used.

June 10

• State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico says Mitchell befriended the pair of escaped convicts and “may have had some sort of role in assisting them.” D’Amico says Mitchell has been cooperating with authorities. She has not yet been charged in the case.
• Authorities receive information that Sweat and Matt may be headed toward Vermont, according to Gov. Peter Shumlin.

June 11

• Police shut down Route 374, a major highway in Cadyville, New York, as they search for Matt and Sweat.
Dogs pick up on a scent about three miles from Clinton Correctional Facility, sources tell CNN.
• A New York state official says authorities are hesitant to charge Mitchell with assisting the murderers’ escape. They’re worried she’ll stop cooperating with authorities if she is charged.
• Mitchell’s son tells NBC, “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.”

June 12

• Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie tells CNN that Mitchell “provided some form of equipment or tools” to Matt and Sweat. He says later that day that Mitchell’s husband, Lyle, is also under investigation.
• Two law enforcement officials tell CNN that Joyce Mitchell provided the pair with hacksaw blades, eyeglasses with lights affixed to them and drill bits.
Mitchell is arrested and charged with promoting prison contraband in the first degree – a felony – and criminal facilitation in the fourth degree – a misdemeanor. She faces up to eight years in prison and is suspended from the prison without pay.

June 13

• More than 800 state, local and federal law enforcement officers are searching for Matt and Sweat, New York State Police say. They are following more than 700 leads.

June 15

• A New York state official says the search for Matt and Sweat has gone cold since the previous week when investigators found what they believe were several human tracks and a bloodhound possibly picked up a scent.
• Reports emerge that Matt and Sweat intended to kill Lyle Mitchell, Joyce’s husband, a source tells CNN, who adds that Mitchell was aware of their plan.
• A source tells CNN that Matt and Mitchell had a sexual relationship.

June 16

• Lyle Mitchell visits his wife in prison, a source tells CNN.
• A source tells CNN that Joyce Mitchell and Matt’s relationship began in 2013.

June 17

• Guess says police have searched 16 square miles – more than 10,000 acres – and have more than 1,400 leads. The search area is expanding.
• A source tells CNN that Lyle Mitchell did not know his wife had a sexual relationship with either fugitive, but his wife did tell him about the alleged murder plot.

June 19

• Guess says authorities are “geared up for the long haul” in the search for Matt and Sweat.
• Another corrections officer is placed on administrative leave as part of the investigation into the prison break, according to a spokeswoman for the New York State Department of Corrections.

June 20

• A law enforcement source tells CNN there was a credible sighting of the convicts near Friendship, New York, just north of the Pennsylvania border.

June 21

• The search for Sweat and Matt turns to Owls Head in upstate New York, police say. The search in Allegany County – near the Pennsylvania border – wraps up.

June 22

• The search refocuses to an area surrounding a burglarized cabin 20 miles from Clinton Correctional Facility in Franklin County, New York. A witness “was going into the cabin and allegedly saw someone run off into the woods,” Franklin County District Attorney Glenn MacNeill tells CNN.
• A law enforcement source tells CNN that DNA from Matt and Sweat is found inside the cabin.
• A source tells CNN the tools that Matt and Sweat used to escape from the prison may have been smuggled inside a frozen chunk of meat.

June 23

• Lyle Mitchell tells NBC’s Matt Lauer that the two prison escapees planned to kill him, but his wife refused to help them go through with it.
• A source tells CNN that Matt and Sweat left behind a number of items – including a pair of boots – in a cabin in Mountain View, New York. That cabin is about 30 miles west of the prison.

June 24

Officer Gene Palmer is arrested and charged with promoting dangerous prison contraband, destroying evidence and official misconduct, his attorney tells CNN. Wylie, the Clinton County district attorney, says Palmer took the frozen meat with the smuggled tools to the inmates’ cell area at the behest of Joyce Mitchell. Wylie says Mitchell put the tools in the meat.

June 25

• Police release more information from a June 20 interview with Palmer. “Matt provided me with (an) elaborate painting and information on the illegal acts that inmates were committing within the facility,” Palmer told New York State Police. “In turn, I provided him with benefits such as paint, paintbrushes, movement of inmates, hamburger meat, altering the electrical boxes in the catwalk areas.”
• Palmer tells police he did not intentionally help Matt and Sweat escape.
Court documents say Palmer gave at last one of the escapees a flathead screwdriver and needle-nose pliers.
• Palmer tried to destroy and hide paintings given to him by the convicts after their escape, according to a document detailing the charges against him.

June 26

• A resident of Malone, New York, calls 911 on Friday afternoon when he finds an opened bottle of gin on the kitchen table at his cabin, his cousin, Mitch Johnson, tells CNN.

1:30 p.m. – Police receive a call about shots fired near Route 30 in the vicinity of Malone. About 20 minutes later, they receive more reports of shots fired near 119 Campground Road.

• The driver of an RV calls 911 twice – first when he hears the shots, again once he notices a bullet hole in his camper.

About 3:45 p.m. – A law enforcement official sees a man in a wooded area in Malone. A man believed to be Matt is shot and killed.

4:21 p.m. – CNN learns that Matt has been shot and teams are chasing David Sweat.

4:46 p.m. – CNN learns that Matt was killed in the shootout.

8:41 p.m. – Cuomo confirms that Matt was killed.


June 28

• Sweat is shot and taken into custody, law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation tell CNN.
• Sweat is listed in critical condition at Albany Medical Center, a hospital official said.

June 29

• Sweat is upgraded to serious condition.
• Cuomo tells a radio program that Sweat has been talking to investigators, telling them the original plan was to flee with Mitchell, kill Mitchell’s husband and then go to Mexico.

June 30

• Sweat tells police that he and Matt conducted a practice run of their prison break the night before they disappeared from Clinton Correctional Facility, a state official says.

• Three members of Clinton Correctional Facility’s executive team, along with nine security staff employees, have been placed on paid administrative leave as part of the review of the murderers’ escape, according to the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

• Sweat’s condition is upgraded to fair.

CNN’s Pamela Brown, Sara Ganim, Linh Tran, Evan Perez, Dana Ford, Jason Carroll, Holly Yan, David Shortell, Shimon Prokupecz, Randi Kaye, Ray Sanchez, Carolyn Sung and Alexandra Field contributed to this report.