CRIME

Richard Matt Gave Clue To Escape In Letter To Daughter From Prison

Richard Matt wrote a letter to his daughter before he broke out of maximum security prison in New York, hinting at his escape plot and promising to find her when he was on the outside, The Buffalo News reports.

The letter was postmarked just before he escaped on June 6 and sent to a daughter living in a Buffalo suburb. She received it three days later, according to The News. The newspaper did not disclose the daughter's name.

“I always promised you I would see you on the outside. I’m a man of my word," he wrote.

Matt was shot dead by police on June 26 after nearly three weeks on the lam. He was carrying a shotgun at the time. Two days later, his accomplice, David Sweat, was shot but captured alive.

Though Matt reportedly never made contact with his daughter after his escape, she asked to be put under 24-hour protection for fear that he would find her.

The Buffalo News reports:

“Richard Matt was a sociopath, and they were all afraid of him,” a law enforcement official said, adding that Matt’s brother Wayne M. Schimpf had also expressed concern that Matt might attempt an encounter with him.

Schimpf, earlier this week, told The News he had anticipated that his brother would one day escape from prison and try to make good on his threat to kill Schimpf. He had cooperated with North Tonawanda detectives and testified that Matt confessed to him that he had killed William L. Rickerson, 76, in 1997 and dismembered the body to dispose of it.

Matt kept in close contact with his daughter while he served his life sentence, so authorities hadn't viewed the latest correspondence as suspicious, the New York Daily News reports.

Just after the letter was postmarked, Matt and Sweat made their escape from the Clinton Correctional Facility, allegedly aided by Joyce Mitchell, a prison tailoring shop instructor who had befriended the inmates.

Authorities say the convicts used power tools to cut through the back of their adjacent cells, broke through a brick wall, cut into a steam pipe and slithered through it, and finally emerged outside the prison walls through a manhole. They apparently used tools stored by prison contractors, taking care to return them to the toolboxes after each night's work.

Workers have welded shut three manholes, including the one out of which the convicts climbed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.