- Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, escaped the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora between 10.30pm Friday and 5.30am Saturday
- Police said they used power tools to cut through a steel wall in their neighboring cells
- They then traveled through a series of tunnels until they reached a manhole outside prison walls
- A manhunt including more than 200 law-enforcement officers is underway in hopes of finding the men
- Sweat was serving life without parole for killing a sheriff’s deputy in 2002
- Matt is serving 25 years to life for kidnapping a man and beating him to death
Two convicted murderers escaped from a maximum-security prison in upstate New York sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning, authorities said.
Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, performed a Shawshank Redemption-style escape from the the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, by using power tools to cut through a steel wall in their cells.
The hole in the wall led the men them to a series of tunnels, which took them to a manhole outside prison walls, police said.
The men even left a note on one of the tunnels reading, ‘Have a nice day’, accompanied with a smiley face, for authorities to later find.
WHO ARE THE ESCAPED KILLERS?
Richard Matt, 48, was convicted on three counts of murder, three counts of kidnapping and two counts of robbery after kidnapping, torturing and dismembering a man in December 1997. He is serving 25 years to life.
David Sweat, 34, was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of a Broome County Sheriff’s Deputy on July 4, 2002, and is serving life without parole.
A manhunt including more than 200 law-enforcement officers is underway in hopes of finding the men – the first inmates to escape the maximum security part of the prison, according to to CNN.
Roads in Dannemora have been blocked by state police and troopers and corrections officers are searching roads and wooded areas.
‘These are dangerous people,’ New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a press conference. ‘They are nothing to be trifled with.’
Head counts are performed every two hours throughout the night so guards can visually check to see if the inmates are in their bunks, Clinton Correctional Facility Supervisor Steven Racette told CNN.
The pair had cells next to each other and had acquired power tools, which they used to cut through the steel walls of their cells, authorities said.
HOW DID THESE MEN ESCAPE?
Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, appeared to have used power tools to cut holes in the walls of their neighboring cells.
They then walked down a catwalk next to the cell wall, which led them to a tunnel.
The men cut a hole in the tunnel and traveled through the dark passageway until they reached a manhole outside prison walls.
They appeared to have escaped through the manhole and police are still searching for the inmates
Guards did not realize the men weren’t in their bunks because they filled their beds with objects and hoodies to make it look like they were sleeping
They then followed a catwalk ‘down an elaborate maze of pipes into tunnels and exited a series of tunnels at the manhole cover,’ the governor said.
‘It was elaborate, it was sophisticated,’ he added. ‘It involved drilling through steel walls, steel pipes.’
Authorities are unsure as to how the men got the power tools used in the escape, but because the the 170-year-old correctional facility undergoes regular maintenance, the tools could have been taken from contractors or workmen who are often inside the building, Cuomo said.
Sweat was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of a Broome County Sheriff’s Deputy on July 4, 2002, and is serving life without parole, New York police said.
He is a 5ft 11in white male with brown hair and green eyes who weighs 165lb. He has tattoos on his left bicep and right fingers, according to CBS.
Matt was convicted on three counts of murder, three counts of kidnapping and two counts of robbery for kidnapping a man and beating and dismembering him in December 1997. He is serving 25 years to life.
He was jailed after he tortured William Rickerson, 76, in his home, bound him with duct tape and put him into the trunk of a car. Police found a headless and armless torso in the Niagara River that belonged to Rickerson, according to Buffalo News.
Matt then fled to Mexico, however, in 1998, where he killed another man in bar fight in Matamoros. He was jailed and held in a prison in Mexico until January 2007.
When he was sent back to the United States, he was immediately turned over for the Rickerson murder.
He is a white male, standing at 6ft, with black hair and hazel eyes who weight 210lb. He has several tattoos, including ‘Mexico Forever’ on his back, a heart on his chest and left shoulder and a Marine Corps insignia on his right shoulder.
Clinton Correctional Facility is in the northwest corner of New York, less than 30 miles from Canada. It’s the state’s largest prison, holding 2,689 inmates, the corrections department told CNN.