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New York state police intensified their search for two escaped convicted killers on Friday as they arrested a prison worker accused of aiding the pair's escape.
"We have a message for David Sweat and Richard Matt: We're coming for you and we will not stop until you are caught,” New York State Police Maj. Charles Guess told reporters Friday night.
Police used helicopters, all-terrain vehicles and dogs to search for any sign of convicts David Sweat and Richard Matt, but rain has hampered search efforts.
Hundreds of officers focused on a 5-mile area east of prison in Dannemora, intensifying their efforts in a wooded area near Route 3 near Cadyville, NBC station WPTZ reported.
Prison worker Joyce Mitchell, 51, was charged with providing the convicts contraband before the pair used power tools to saw through their cells at the Clinton Correctional Facility and made a dramatic escape early June 6.
So far the only arrest made in the aftermath of the brazen prison break is Mitchell, who had been questioned for days after the men escaped. She was charged with first-degree promoting prison contraband, a felony, and fourth-degree criminal facilitation, a misdemeanor.
Sources have told NBC News Mitchell was charmed by Matt, and at one point “she thought it was love” and planned to be the men's getaway driver before she got cold feet.
More than 800 law enforcement officers in all are participating in the manhunt and more than 700 tips have come in, police said. Verizon upgraded its cell towers in the area to assist in the search. Vermont police have also passed out fliers and looked for the men in that state.
There have been no confirmed sightings of either convict since the escape, Guess said. Police are working under the assumption that both men are still together and that they are in the general vicinity of the prison, Guess said, but investigators are looking at all possibilities.
"We do not have any conclusive evidence that either of the inmates has left this area," Guess said. "We have nationwide resources, and international resources, looking at the path of this escape."
"We’re getting closer with every step that we take," he said.
As the search neared the end of its seventh day Friday evening, Guess said the time on the run and the wet weather could make the escaped killers more of a threat.
"The escapees have to deal with the same inclement weather … if they have not escaped the area or they have not availed themselves of shelter, [we’ve] got to assume they’re cold, wet, tired and hungry,” Guess said.
“That makes these individuals even more dangerous and desperate,” he said.