Sources: Escaped Convicts First Emerged on Street In Front of Dannemora Prison Beneath Unmanned Tower

Danemorra manhole
Image courtesy of Jason Cerone

Two separate sources familiar with the operation of the Clinton County Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York tell Breitbart News that during their successful escape on the evening of June 5, convicted killers Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 35, initially emerged from an underground steam pipe on to the main street in town at a location adjacent to the prison’s 30 foot high wall and beneath a guard tower that was unmanned that night.

According to those sources, the guard tower was unmanned due to prison budget cuts authorized by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Like groundhogs scared by their shadows on Groundhog Day, however, sources tell Breitbart News that the two convicts did not emerge from the steam pipes at that location at the intersection of Cook St., the main street in town, and Barker St., presumably because it was so close to the prison walls and might leave them exposed to capture.


(All images courtesy of Jason Cerone)

Instead, Matt and Sweat went back down into the steam pipes, crawled another 150 feet south, and emerged from a manhole at the intersection of Barker St. and Bouck St. after using tools smuggled in to them to cut the padlocks on the manhole cover.


Breitbart’s sources differ, however, on the method by which Matt and Sweat first emerged on to Cook St.

One source says they emerged from a manhole, pictured in the headline image above, located at the white stripe on the north border of Cook St. at Barker St. as it runs east to west directly in front of the prison wall.

A second source, however, says they emerged from the storm sewage drain pipe that juts out in a cement block about four feet high and three feet wide on both sides from the prison wall, also pictured in the headline image, located about ten feet from the manhole cover.

When the search for the convicts initiated on Saturday June 6, dogs brought in to track them found their scent at a park located at the south east corner of the intersection of Cook St. and Flagg St., about 50 feet from the manhole cover and the storm sewage drain pipe.


The manhole cover and the storm sewage drain pipe are visible from “Guard Tower 2,” which is approximately 50 feet to the east. They are also visible from “Guard Tower 3,” which is approximately 100 feet to the west.

Sources have confirmed to Breitbart News that on the evening of the escape, “Guard Tower 2” was not manned by a correction officer due to prison budget cuts. Breitbart News has been unable to confirm whether “Guard Tower 3” was manned or unmanned that night.

Breitbart News asked the press office of the DOCCS to comment and either confirm or deny that the convicts initially emerged on Cook St.

Specifically, we asked if the DOCCS had evidence that the padlocks beneath the manhole cover on Cook St. had been cut through, or if the welded steel bars beneath the storm sewage drain pipe had been cut through. The DOCCS did not directly address our questions.


“As has been previously announced, there are a number of ongoing probes into the escape at Clinton Correctional Facility, including criminal and Inspector General investigations. Until they have concluded, we will not be able to provide information on issues that are under review in those investigations,” a spokesperson for the DOCCS told Breitbart News in response to our inquiries.

On Friday, June 12, 51-year-old Joyce Mitchell, a civilian worker who supervised the tailor shop at the prison, was arrested for aiding the escape of the convicts by smuggling screwdrivers, drill bits, and hacksaw blades in to them, which they used to cut through the walls of their adjacent cells.

On Friday, June 19, a correction officer at the Clinton Correction Facility was placed on administrative leave as part of the DOCCS ongoing investigation into the escape.


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