More than 130 state prison escapees nationwide are listed as on the loose, the Associated Press found in a survey of states. Somewhere out there are an admitted killer who crawled through a Texas prison ventilation ducts, a murderer who apparently escaped from an Indiana institution in a garbage truck, and a Florida man who got other inmates to put him in a crate at the prison furniture shop and had himself delivered to freedom by truck. Most have been gone for decades, meaning the chances of finding them have dwindled dramatically, if they’re even alive.
For the past two weeks, up to 800 federal, state and local law enforcement officers have been searching the woods and swamps around a maximum-security state prison in northern New York state for two convicted killers who used power tools to break out. The hunt is still in the early and intensive on-the-ground phase. After the sightings wane and the dragnets come up empty, some states regularly revisit escape cases, keep an eye on vanished prisoners’ associates and check fingerprint databases, death certificates other sources for new leads. Successful escapes from secure, fenced prisons are rare. At least 24 states say they have no prisoners at large.