The husband of a prison worker accused of helping two convicted killers escape a maximum-security facility in New York says his wife told him when he confronted her about the allegations that she got in over her head.
“I said ‘how can it happen?'” Lyle Mitchell said in an interview on the “Today” show. “She said, ‘I got over my head, and I was scared.'”
Mitchell’s wife, Joyce, worked in the tailor shop at Clinton Correctional Facility, the maximum-security prison in Dannemora, N.Y., where Richard Matt and David Sweat were held before their brazen escape earlier this month.
Lyle Mitchell told NBC that he spoke with his wife about her alleged role after an investigator said: ‘Mr. Mitchell, your wife is more involved than what she’s lettin’ on.'”
“There are so many thoughts running through my head. Do I still love her? Yes,” Lyle Mitchell told NBC. “Am I mad? Yes. How could she do this? How could she do this to our kids?”
Lyle Mitchell also said his wife gave her account of an alleged murder plot, which Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie mentioned at a news conference last week, according to the Associated Press.
“She said ‘I got something else to tell you,” Lyle Mitchell told NBC. “I said, ‘What’s that?’ She said ‘Their plan was, they wanted to kill you.'”
Lyle Mitchell said one of the inmates told his wife to give him pills, which would knock him out. Then Joyce Mitchell could pick up the pair after the escape, Lyle Mitchell said, relaying his wife’s story.
“She said ‘I am not doing that,'” Lyle Mitchell told NBC. “She said, ‘I love my husband. I am not hurting him.’ She said, then I knew I was over my head. She said, ‘I can’t do this.'”
Matt and Sweat remain on the lam; authorities have spent more than two weeks searching for the duo, but thus far, they have eluded capture.
More than 1,000 law enforcement officers have been involved in the manhunt, which has involved more than 2,000 leads, New York State Police said in a news release.
“The region around Dannemora remains a primary focus of the investigation,” state police said Monday. “We ask the public to remain on alert, take any necessary safety precautions, and remain vigilant about reporting anything that is out of the ordinary. ”
Joyce Mitchell was taken into custody on June 12, six days after prison officials discovered that Matt and Sweat were missing. Authorities believe Mitchell smuggled tools into the prison, which helped the two killers break free from the institution, which was known as “Little Siberia.”
Matt, 48, and Sweat, who turned 35 while he was a fugitive, were discovered missing on June 6, according to state police. They have since been added to the “15 Most Wanted” fugitives list.
“The agency’s 15 Most Wanted fugitive list is reserved for the worst of the worst,” U.S. Marshals Service Director Stacia Hylton said in a release. “There is no question David Sweat and Richard Matt fall into this category.”
In the past few days, authorities have swarmed Franklin County, following a possible sighting. Acting District Attorney Glenn MacNeill told CNN that someone was spotted around a cabin in the area, which prompted the response.
“If they’re in this area, the hope is that something will break in the next couple of days,” Franklin County Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill told WPTZ, an NBC affiliate in Plattsburgh, New York. “We’re using all the technology we can, pulling out all the stops. If they’re here, we’re going to catch them.”