AP Photo/Mike Groll

Jun 14, 2015 9:42 AM

As search for 2 killers drags on, rural NY residents on edge

The Associated Press

DANNEMORA, N.Y. — Residents in rural New York, unaccustomed to locking their doors, day or night, were on edge as the massive manhunt for two killers stretched into a ninth day after the men cut themselves free from a maximum-security prison with power tools.

More than 800 law enforcement officers in the hunt for David Sweat and Richard Matt scoured the fields and Adirondack woods several miles around the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora near the Canadian border.

State police remained stationed overnight into Sunday at intervals in the wooded search area, which came alive with the loud chirps of crickets and frogs. Along Route 3, a two-lane highway south of Dannemora that abuts the Saranac River, a series of lights illuminated both the roadway and fields where earlier hundreds of officers had conducted more grid searches.

With several hundred tips to check out, police said they had no new leads by the end of the day Saturday. Their heavily armed presence in the rural landscape has become both reassuring and unsettling to local residents.

"I just mowed some fields and I kept looking over my shoulder. It's scary," said Jason Hamel, who lives with his wife and three young daughters in West Chazy five minutes from one of the many roadblocks. "I won't let the kids outside.

"My wife and I love to be outdoors," he added. "We haven't done any of that, and when we do go outside now, we're armed."

The fear also is very real for Sandra Denny, a widow who moved to the area four years ago from New Jersey to be near her son and grandchild.

"It's real frightening not knowing where they are," said Denny, who's been driving around in her station wagon for the past week with several bags of mulch in the back because she's too afraid to unload it and work in her garden. "They could be at my back door."


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