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N.Y. police expand search for remaining fugitive ahead of rains

By Doug G. Ware
Law enforcement personnel search a wooded area along Duane Road in Malone, New York as part of an ongoing manhunt for escaped prisoners David Sweat and Richard Matt, Friday, June 26, 2015. Authorities shot Matt dead later in the day, but Sweat remains at large. Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/4ec11ef567578ff3d093cf4ceb99ec23/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Law enforcement personnel search a wooded area along Duane Road in Malone, New York as part of an ongoing manhunt for escaped prisoners David Sweat and Richard Matt, Friday, June 26, 2015. Authorities shot Matt dead later in the day, but Sweat remains at large. Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo

DANNEMORA, N.Y., June 27 (UPI) -- Authorities searching for the lone surviving escapee from a maximum security prison in upstate New York expanded their search area Saturday, after a belief that police had him contained in their perimeter may have been wrong.

Police had surrounded a roughly three-mile area near the intersection of New York Routes 30 and 41 near the town of Malone, thinking they had inmate David Sweat penned in there, the New York Times reported. But after a search of the area, police found no one.

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Officials said they based that search perimeter on the assumption that Sweat was with or near the other escaped prisoner, Richard Matt, when he was shot dead by police Friday.

Saturday, authorities expanded the search area to include more than 20 square miles, the Times reported. Police continue to utilize a helicopter, canines and hundreds of officers combing the woods.

RELATED Fugitive Richard Matt shot dead in N.Y. woods, police search for second escapee

Authorities believe that Sweat is probably in bad shape, having been on the run for three weeks -- likely without much sleep or nourishment, USA Today reported.

Friday, Matt was shot dead by police in the same area, which is located about 10 miles south of the U.S.-Canada border along Highway 30. A United Press photographer, who was the only media member inside the perimeter during Matt's shooting, said police found the prisoner in or near a trailer in the woods.

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"They're still kind of holding out in that area and hoping out for the best," Clinton County Sheriff David Favro said.

RELATED UPI photographer caught in perimeter as N.Y. fugitive shot

No sighting or evidence of Sweat's presence has yet been found during the search, except for traces of his DNA found in an unoccupied cabin last weekend.

Heavy rains are expected in northern New York Saturday and Sunday, which adds a greater sense of urgency to locate the escapee -- particularly because they might wash away further traces of the escapee.

Both men escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y., on June 6.

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