The inside story of one of the US' most famous prison breaks is told in a new book from New York Daily News reporter Chelsia Rose Marcius, who spent more than 100 hours interviewing surviving inmate David Sweat, who was shot and captured three weeks after escaping from New York's Clinton Correctional Facility. In an excerpt from Wild Escape published in the Daily News, Marcius recounts how Sweat's escape partner, Richard Matt, noticed prison seamstress Joyce Mitchell seemed to have feelings for Sweat. He saw her crying what Marcius describes as "uncontrollable tears" after Sweat was removed from working in her tailor shop, and asked her what she would do if Sweat ever kissed her. She said she probably wouldn't report Sweat if that happened, and Matt decided the men should use her in their escape plot.
"She's f---ing nuts," Matt reportedly told Sweat. "She'll bring us whatever we want." And thus Mitchell was roped into the plan, smuggling in items including hacksaw blades, a chisel, drill bits, and a steel punch—by hiding them in two pounds of raw hamburger meat she brought in to work. As Marcius explains, prison employees often brought in food and it was not subject to search, so even a tub of raw meat did not raise suspicions. Marcius' book also delves a bit into Mitchell's motivations—she was looking for an escape from her monotonous life, and Sweat, who was the most talented employee she'd ever worked with, "stirred something in her she had long suppressed"—and Sweat's relationship with Matt, who was ultimately killed by authorities. The two bonded, among other things, over art, with Matt inspiring Sweat to take up painting. Click for the full excerpt, which begins on the morning of the escape.