BELLMONT, New York (AP) -- Items recovered from a remote hunting cabin have been sent to labs for DNA testing to determine if they are linked to a pair of convicted killers who escaped from a nearby prison more than two weeks ago, authorities said as searchers converged on a wooded area in the hamlet in far northern New York.
State Police Maj. Charles Guess on Monday characterized the latest search effort -- one of many over the past 17 days -- as a confirmed lead. He said at a news conference that authorities had "specific items" from the Adirondack cabin about 20 miles (30 kilometers) west of the prison where inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt escaped on June 6.
Guess would not elaborate on the items, but said they were sent to labs for DNA and other testing.
Sweat, 35, was serving a life sentence without parole at the Clinton County Correctional Facility for killing a sheriff's deputy. Matt, 48, was doing 25 years to life for the 1997 kidnapping, torture and hacksaw dismemberment of his former boss.
Prison worker Joyce Mitchell remained in custody on charges she helped the two men escape by providing them hacksaw blades, chisels and other tools. She has pleaded not guilty.
Authorities say she had talked to the inmates about killing her husband, Lyle, who also works at the prison. Andrew Wylie, Clinton County district attorney, said Joyce Mitchell told authorities that she and Matt discussed having Matt and Sweat go to her house after they escaped to kill Lyle Mitchell.
Since Sweat and Matt escaped from the prison in Dannemora, more than 800 law enforcement officers have gone door-to-door checking houses, wooded areas, campgrounds and summer homes.
Associated Press writer Chris Carola in Albany contributed to this report.