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.
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.
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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.
"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."
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."
Richard Esposito is the senior executive producer of the NBC News Investigative Unit, and supervises investigative correspondents, producers, and reporters across all broadcasts and platforms of the NBCUniversal News Group.
Esposito, who began as a copy boy at the New York Daily News in 1977, has more than 25 years of newspaper and television experience. He has overseen investigations and run the metropolitan news operations at two of the largest newspapers in America, the New York Daily News and Newsday, and was most recently senior investigative reporter for ABC News.
He has shared in Peabody and Pulitzer awards, and has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer. Honors include the 2012 Murrow Award for his work in reporting the death of Osama bin Laden, a 2005 Polk Award for his investigation into the CIA’s network of secret prisons and harsh interrogation techniques, a 2006 Emmy Award and a 1990 Sigma Delta Chi award, among many other awards.
Esposito is the co-author of the books “Bomb Squad: A Year Inside the Nation’s Most Exclusive Police Unit,” and “Dead on Delivery: Inside the Drug Wars.”
Elisha Fieldstadt is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.