New leads force search for murderers within walking distance of Canadian border

Major Charles Guess_143330

New York State Police Major Charles Guess updates reporters on the search for convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat, Friday, June 26, 2015, in Malone, N.Y. Authorities shifted a focus of their three week search closer to the Canadian border. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

MALONE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Two escaped murderers who sparked a massive manhunt could be just hours away from Canada, and police suspect the two wanted men could be preparing for a dash past the Canadian Border.

In light of new evidence, which New York State Police would not confirm was DNA when asked by a reporter at a press conference Friday afternoon, searchers have all but abandoned the Belmont area south of Malone in Franklin County. Residents in the area woke up on Friday to phone calls from New York State Police saying a veritable army of more than 1,100 armed searchers would be shifting their focus.

During the press conference, police detailed the latest in their search from a wooded area, more than thirty miles from Dannemora, where Matt and Sweat escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility.

New York State Police Major Charles Guess says based on the evidence they’ve gathered, they think Matt and Sweat are making a break for the Canadian border and moving mostly at night.

“Law enforcement cannot get into the specifics of the evidence recovered while investigating this particular lead,” New York State Police officials said of the new evidence. “The evidence is still being evaluated by a State Police laboratory as part of the investigative process, but based on what is known, law enforcement have a high degree of confidence in our conclusion.”

Police say they’ve readied their international partners, but noted that they have no reason to believe the prisoners are in Canada yet. INTERPOL and the Canadian authorities are reportedly in the loop and are ready to act.

The town of Malone is approximately 11 miles south of Canada, which could be reached on foot in less than four hours, assuming Matt and Sweat start walking north from Malone.

Physical evidence and details through their leads — which to date total more than 2,400 — have helped police zero in on where they’re searching now.

Throughout the short press briefing, police appeared confident in their new evidence.

“Our search efforts expanding northwest tell you everything you need to know,” Guess said.

Police reminded all residents of the area that the two escaped killers are likely armed and dangerous and said anybody with tips can call 1-800-GIVETIP.

See the latest stories on the hunt for two murderers. 

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