Tip on escaped prisoners apparently doesn't pan out, police begin clearing new search area

Heavily armed police and helicopters converged on a remote area in northwest New York Tuesday after a reported sighting of at least one prison escapee but they later cleared the scene when the tip didn't pan out.

Fox News' Rick Leventhal, reporting from Owl's Head, New York, said more than 100 officers converged in a nearby wooded area as helicopters circled overhead after someone told police he thought he saw something in the dense woods.

The location was only several miles from where the DNA of both David Sweat and Richard Matt was found in an unoccupied hunter's cabin last weekend and about 20 miles west of the Clinton Correctional facility, where the men escaped June 6.

But, Leventhal said, about one hour after the intense search began, officers started to clear the area.

Meanwhile, authorities said they had recovered items from the remote hunter's cabin that may be linked to Sweat and Matt.

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    State Police Maj. Charles Guess said at a news conference that authorities had "specific items" from the Adirondack cabin some 20 miles west of the prison and sent them to labs for DNA and other testing. He would not elaborate on the items.

    According to a report published late Monday, the prison worker accused of helping the two convicted killers escape smuggled them vital tools that were concealed inside frozen chunks of hamburger meat.

    Joyce Mitchell, 51, has been charged with felony promoting prison contraband and misdemeanor criminal facilitation in connection with the escape of Matt and Sweat.

    Court documents allege that Mitchell provided the men with hacksaw blades, chisels, a punch and a screwdriver bit in the weeks prior to the escape.

    Law enforcement sources told the New York Post that Mitchell came up with the idea to sneak the tools into the jail masked by the frozen food.

    Terry Bellinger, owner of nearby Belly's Mountain View Inn, told the Associated Press that a hunter, identified by the Press-Republican as corrections officer John Stockwell, told him he saw a man run into the woods as he approached the camp Saturday on an ATV. When the hunter went into the cabin, 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.

    "He was visibly shaken. He wanted a glass of water," Bellinger said. .

    Stockwell's wife, Nancy, described the cabin to the Press-Republican as having few amenities. The cabin is powered by a generator and it is equipped with a sink, a gas stove, and wood stove, and an outhouse. However, it does not have a phone.

    Sweat, 35, was serving a life sentence without parole 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.

    Authorities say Mitchell 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.

    Fox News' Rick Leventhal and The Associated Press contributed to this report.