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Police Ready For 'Long Haul' In Search For 2 Escaped Inmates

DANNEMORA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- State police searching for two killers who escaped from an upstate New York prison two weeks ago say they're prepared to keep going for the "long haul.''

Richard Matt and David Sweat cut their way out of Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora on June 6. Up to 800 officers have been searching for the escapees since then.

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The U.S. Marshals Service added Matt and Sweat to its "15 Most Wanted Fugitives" list on Thursday.

Police told reporters Friday that the pair could be anywhere, but they are focusing their ground search in the heavily wooded region around the prison near the Canadian border. Investigators also are checking hundreds of leads.

State Police Maj. Charles Guess said police remain prepared for rapid response, but are used to investigations that last for months or years.

CBS News' Michelle Miller spoke with James Pray, a former correction officer who worked at the Clinton Correctional Facility for seven years overseeing inmates, including Matt and Sweat.

Pray said Matt was a model inmate, but he had his eye on Sweat.

"He was an alright inmate, but he was shady," Pray said. "He just seemed to be a little more sneakier than Matt."

Pray also worked closely with civilian employees including Joyce Mitchell, an instructor at the prison tailor shop where Matt and Sweat worked. She is now charged in connection with their escape.

"She seemed very comfortable around them," Pray said. "She was talked to about getting too close to the inmates."

Mitchell has admitted to investigators to being sexually involved with at least one of the men she helped to escape, Miller reported.

Pray believes the fugitives not only used Mitchell to supply them with hand tools, but also exploited the prison's lax security.

"I just don't know how they got the tools from the tailor shop to the blocks because those are steel, they would have went off crazy in the metal detector," he said. "I suspect there was probably somebody else involved."

Another missed opportunity apparently came after a riot that broke out two weeks before the two escaped.

"I heard they had a riot, and they used gas in the yard. They usually lock the jail down the following day and those cells are searched," Pray said. "I believe if the jail would have been locked down like it should have been, they would have found holes in the walls, they would have found everything."

The New York State Department of Correction said there are a number of ongoing probes into the escape.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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