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DNA found near prison linked to escaped inmates

BELLMONT (AP) — DNA found just miles from a maximum-security prison is linked to the convicted murderers who escaped more than two weeks ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, as searchers using dogs and helicopters on Tuesday continued to focus intensely on a heavily wooded area in far northern New York.

Cuomo told reporters Monday night that the current lead has “good evidence, DNA data” regarding inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt. It wasn’t immediately clear if the DNA belonged to one or both of the inmates.

“I believe we will get these guys,” Cuomo said. He also cautioned that they’ve had a number of leads and have to follow each as if it’s the one that’s going to bring authorities to the escapees.

State Police Maj. Charles Guess said Monday that authorities had recovered “specific items” from a cabin in the Adirondacks that were sent to labs for DNA and other testing. The cabin is some 20 miles west of the prison. Guess did not elaborate on what the items were.

Terry Bellinger, owner of nearby Belly’s Mountain View Inn, said a hunter told him he saw a man run into the woods as he approached the cabin Saturday on an ATV. When the hunter went inside, he noticed two things out of place: a jug of water and an open jar of peanut butter on a table. Bellinger said the hunter went to his restaurant, where he talked to police for several hours.

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