Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

New York State
Department of Correctional Services
Glenn S. Goord, Commissioner

Office of Public Information
[518] 457-8182

For immediate release:

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Search continues for two escapees from Elmira Correctional Facility

An increased contingent of law enforcement officials continued searching today for two convicted murderers who escaped yesterday from the Elmira Correctional Facility.

While upwards of 100 law enforcement officials participated in the search on Monday, that increased to 150 today, according to DOCS Commissioner Glenn S. Goord.

The increase is among DOCS and State Police personnel who are being assisted by the Chemung County Sheriff's Department as well as local police departments within the county. The FBI is also involved in case leads are developed in nearby Pennsylvania and out-of-state or federal warrants are required. The state Department of Environmental Conservation is also assisting, through the loan of all-terrain vehicles and employees familiar with traversing some of the hilly and wooded areas surrounding the Elmira area.

State Police, who are coordinating the search, have also brought in two helicopters and as many bloodhounds. A half-dozen K-9 units have been brought in by DOCS and the State Police.

The two state agencies have a number of fixed road blocks as well as roving patrols throughout the area. Because it is not known whether the inmates have access to the media, details on the roadblocks and leads developed as part of the investigation are not being released.

Elmira has been in a lockdown since the escapes were confirmed at 7:30 a.m. yesterday. That means inmates are confined to their cells around the clock except for medical, family or legal visits. The facility remained quiet overnight, after correctional staff spent the day walking the housing units and explaining the reasons for the lockdown.

The last escape at the 127-year-old maximum-security prison was in 1984. The last escape from any maximum-security prison occurred in 1994.

"I believe that record is unmatched by virtually any other state in the nation and attests to the vigilance and dedication our employees bring to their jobs everyday," Commissioner Goord said. "The professionalism of our employees and their adherence to security policies contributes to making ours the best correctional system in the nation."

Inmates Timothy A. Vail and Timothy G. Morgan were last seen shortly after a 10 p.m."standing count" on Sunday, but were missing for the next such count at 6:30 a.m. yesterday.

Vail, 35, is serving a sentence of 49 years to life following his conviction in Broome County for murder, rape, robbery and burglary. Morgan, 26, is serving a sentence of 25 years to life following his conviction in Fulton County for murder and robbery.