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Prison Worker Joyce Mitchell Being Questioned in Connection With Brazen Escape

New York State Police said they were talking with Joyce Mitchell, an employee of Clinton Correctional Facility’s tailor shop.
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The son of the woman who New York state police said they're questioning in connection with the escape of two convicted murderers from a maximum security prison, said Monday that his mother would have never played a part in helping the prisoners break free.

"She's not going to risk her life or other people's lives to help these guys escape," said Tobey Mitchell, the son of Joyce Mitchell, a Clinton Correctional Facility employee that authorities were speaking to about the brazen escape of Richard Matt and David Sweat.

Gov. Cuomo said Monday that the escapees’ plan of cutting the steel walls behind their cells and climbing through a labyrinth of tunnels to reach freedom had to require assistance.

Mitchell said his mother couldn't be the person who provided that help. He said his mother, who worked as an instructor at the tailor shop where Matt and Sweat worked, “loved sewing machines,” and enjoyed her job at the prison, where she had worked for eight years.

Related: Richard Matt and David Sweat, Convicted Murderers Who Escaped Prison, Have Grisly Past

"She's always been a good person, and anyone will tell you, they are the nicest people," Mitchell said of his parents. Mitchell's father, Lyle, also works at the prison as an industrial training supervisor, according to public records.

Officials said Joyce Mitchell checked herself into the hospital Saturday, the day Matt and Sweat were reported missing, with "a case of nerves."

Tobey Mitchell, who said he hadn't spoken to his parents since Saturday, said he didn't know exactly why his mother was hospitalized, other than "she was having severe chest pains."

"She's very nervous she's a very nervous person," Mitchell said of his mother, adding: "The truth will come out."

Image: Joyce Mitchell
Joyce MitchellFacebook

More than 250 local, state and federal officials have pursued hundreds of leads in the search for Matt and Sweat. They busted out by cutting holes in the steel backs of their cells with power tools and climbing through pipes and tunnels until they reached and broke open a manhole cover a block away.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said that all of the prison's tools were accounted for after the escape, presenting the question of where the men got the equipment to cut through steel. "They definitely had help," Cuomo said Monday. "Otherwise, they couldn't have done this on their own, even from the equipment point of view."