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Police Swarm Upstate N.Y. Area After Possible Sighting of Prison Escapees

by Elizabeth Chuck /  / Updated 

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Officials say they are searching an area of Allegany County in New York for convicted killers David Sweat and Richard Matt after a witness called and said they spotted two men walking along a railroad track.

The call was from the area of two adjacent towns, Friendship and Amity, a spokesman for the New York State Police said Saturday, two weeks after the men executed a brazen prison break.

A heavy police presence has descended on the area but authorities said no law enforcement officers have spotted Sweat or Matt. Someone called a tip line Saturday afternoon and said they saw the two men walking along a railroad track in the town of Friendship, police said.

State police initially called the new development a "confirmed sighting" but by the evening called it an unconfirmed sighting.

On Friday night, police said, witnesses spotted two men on June 13 walking near a rail yard in Erwin, New York, some 400 miles southwest of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora where they escaped from.

The following day, two men with the same description were spotted walking in nearby Lindley, "heading toward the Pennsylvania Border," state police said in a statement.

RELATED: Authorities Vow to Catch Killers as Trail Goes Cold

Officials said investigators in both communities were conducting interviews about the sightings. Surveillance video of the two men is being sent to Albany to determine whether it's a credible lead.

The search area police zeroed in on Saturday afternoon is about 70 miles from Erwin and Lindley.

Also Friday night, officials said a corrections officer had been placed on administrative leave as part of the investigation.

Joyce Mitchell, a prison tailor shop instructor, is in custody. Authorities say she was going to provide a getaway car for Matt and Sweat, but her nerves got the best of her. She has been charged with providing blades, chisels and other tools to the two killers, and has pleaded not guilty.

RELATED: Joyce Mitchell, Escapees Discussed Murder-for-Hire Plot, DA Says

The escapees used power tools to free themselves from Clinton on June 6, prompting a broad manhunt involving hundreds of officers.

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