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More details on prison escape, but No. 1 question remains: Where are they?

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[h=4]More details on prison escape, but No. 1 question remains: Where are they?[/h]The hunt for two killers who fled a New York state prison reached into a fourth day Tuesday with questions continuing to swirl around the escape and their thus far successful effort to avoid capture

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New York law enforcement officials say they "are leaving no stone unturned" in the search for two convicted murderers who broke out of prison on Saturday. (June 7) AP


A photo provided by the New York governor's office shows the area where two convicted murderers used power tools to cut their way out of a maximum-security prison in Dannemora, N.Y. Officials say they don't understand how no one heard the cutting.(Photo: Darren McGee, AP)


More questions than answers marked the investigation Tuesday into the daring and complex escape of two killers who slipped out of a northern New York prison and into national headlines.
Chagrined officials at the Clinton Correctional Facility are trying to determine how Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, obtained the detailed information required to cut a path to freedom that first involved penetrating a cell wall reinforced with quarter-inch-thick steel.
The cell wall breach led to a catwalk from which the men shimmied down six stories to a tunnel of pipes. The men followed that tunnel, broke through a double-brick wall, cut into a 24-inch steam pipe, shimmied their way through the steam pipe, cut another hole so they could get out of the pipe and finally surfaced through a manhole a block outside the prison wall.
Charles Ewing, a law professor at the University at Buffalo who specializes in forensic psychology and violent behavior, has been inside the prison a few times to interview inmates. He told USA TODAY that the men must have obtained some architectural information from someone inside the prison.
"You might be able to figure out where air ducts are located, or maybe even certain drains in the shower areas or kitchen or bathroom facilities," Ewing said. "But these guys were right on the money from the photos I saw."
How much help did they have?
"They needed the assistance of someone," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
CNN is among news outlets reporting that a woman who tailored clothes in the prison was questioned by authorities. The woman has not been arrested nor charged.
The notion of a female employee – or employee's wife – aiding male inmates is not new. In 2012, the wife of a former Oklahoma prison's deputy warden served six months in prison for helping an inmate escape. She and the inmate and his helper were found living together many years after the escape.
But it isn't clear how a seamstress could provide power tools to inmates.
"Employees cannot smuggle the equipment these guys needed," Ewing said. "Employees themselves are screened going in and out. It's not like bringing in a hacksaw blade. These guys needed major power tools. It's not like sticking it in a birthday cake."
How did they get the tools?
Authorities say an inventory of prison equipment thus far has not turned up any missing tools. Checking for missing tools among all the prison's contractors is a more complicated process, but that effort also is taking place.
Ewing said contractors are the most likely source.
"Something was left somewhere, but this seems so well planned, not an escape of opportunity," he said. "So somehow they must have known they could have or could get access to these kinds of tools."
It's also not clear how no one heard those tools in use. Cuomo said he talked to some inmates about that.
"They're all heavy sleepers," he said with disgust. That would not explain how guards never heard anything, however.
"Prisons are noisy places, but they are not that noisy," Ewing said.
Where could they be?
Still, all that happened days, weeks or even months ago. The men vanished at least three days ago. Despite a wide-ranging manhunt involving hundreds of officers, they apparently haven't been seen – or at least noticed – since.
"I definitely think they had help after they escaped," Ewing said. "I think the goal was to get out of the area as fast as possible."
The prison is just 20 miles from the Canadian border, and the Canadian Mounties are on alert. Matt has connections in Mexico, where he was convicted of killing a man more than 15 years ago, and authorities there have been notified. Law enforcement agencies across the U.S. are also involved.
Despite the massive manhunt, the biggest question of all remains the biggest mystery: Where are they?
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