Convicted killers Richard Matt and David Sweat are still on the run after escaping a maximum security prison in upstate New York late last week, but investigators have since revealed that they suspect a prison employee aided in the convicts’ flight.

Joyce Mitchell, 51, was arrested yesterday and charged with Promoting Prison Contraband in the 1st Degree and Criminal Facilitation in the 4th Degree. If convicted, she could face up to eight years in prison.

Via Fox News:

Earlier, [District Attorney Andrew] Wylie said Mitchell, a supervisor in the prison’s tailoring shop, brought “contraband” into the prison but he declined to elaborate on what, specifically, she gave the men.

The Albany Times-Union reported late Thursday that Mitchell told New York State Police she gave Matt, 48, and Sweat, 34, access to a cell phone and smuggled tools into the prison.

A police source close to the investigation confirmed to Fox News Friday that Mitchell planned to provide a getaway car for the two convicted murderers but had a change of heart at the last minute. Mitchell instead checked herself into a hospital some 40 miles away from the prison, complaining of panic attacks, according to law enforcement.

Mitchell joined the prison staff in March of 2008 and earned $57,697 a year. She was suspended without pay, effective Friday.

The Times-Union also reported that Mitchell had been investigated in recent months by the state corrections department’s inspector general after a fellow prison worker complained that she had gotten too close to Sweat and Matt. That investigation did not result in any discipline.

More from Fox:

Investigators are focusing their search in and around the small town of Cadyville, NY. Bloodhounds picked up Matt and Sweat’s scent during an initial search, and soon after residents were instructed to turn on their outside lights and take cover in their homes.

According to local officials, if they’re still in the area the two convicts haven’t been having an easy time of it. Former supervisory deputy US Marshal Steven Sinofsky says that, while it’s difficult to tell whether or not the authorities are close to a break in the manhunt, it’s likely that the two fugitives are still very close to the prison.


We’ll keep you updated on the progress of the manhunt.