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June 11, 2015

Police call off Philly search for escaped N.Y. prisoners

Philadelphia police called off a search for  two convicted murderers who escaped from a prison in upstate New York late last week.

A local cab driver reported picking up two men who matched the escapees description. But police said they have determined that the cab passengers were not the fugitives.

Police received a call around 5 a.m. Thursday from a cab driver who was at Amtrak's 30th Street Station. The man told police he had picked up two men who matched the descriptions of 48-year-old Richard Matt and 34-year-old David Sweat at Broad and Vine streets around 4:15 a.m. 

The driver said he dropped the men off at 30th Street Station and then worked two more fares before calling 911.

Investigators questioned the taxi driver and reviewed surveillance video as part of the investigation, Philadelphia police said.

Meanwhile, the investigation into the daring and elaborate prison escape, which has riveted the nation, intensified as a female prison worker being questioned by police acknowledged that she thought she had a romantic relationship with one of prisoners and had planned to drive the getaway car. 

"She thought it was love," a law-enforcement official told NBC News.

In the end, Joyce Mitchell, an industrial training supervisor in the tailor shop of Clinton Correctional Facility in the town of Dannemora, got cold feet and checked herself into a hospital for nerves on Saturday, the day the inmates were discovered missing, NBC reported, citing unnamed senior government officials.

Mitchell's statements to police were incriminating enough to result in her being indicted for her role in the escape, the New York Times reported on Thursday, citing an unnamed person with knowledge of the matter.

Authorities also have growing confidence that dogs have picked up the scent of the two convicted murderers who escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility, according to CNN. 

Dogs picked up a scent about three miles from the maximum-security prison, according to a state official and another source briefed on the investigation. 

Investigators have found an imprint either from a shoe or boot, as well as a food wrapper in the area, a sources said. They are trying to determine if this was an area where the escapees slept and how long ago they were there.