Hunt for prison escapees plays out near camp of local couple

MIDDLEBURY — Doug and Debby Anderson are the part owners of a camp in northern New York state to which they can occasionally escape from their daily routines in Middlebury, where they reside.
That word “escape” has now taken on a new meaning for them.
Their camp, in Mountain View, is located within the targeted area of a painstaking search for two escaped convicts from the Clinton Correctional Center, located just 20 miles away in Dannemora, N.Y.
Convicted murderers David Sweat and Richard Matt escaped from Clinton Correctional Center back on June 6, allegedly with help from a prison employee who provided them with tools to break out and exit through a nearby manhole. More than 1,000 police officials — including some from Vermont — have been searching areas surrounding the prison. The search got a major boost a few days ago when it was discovered (thanks to DNA evidence and personal items) that the two men had burglarized a hunting cabin in the small community of Mountain View. Authorities have now established a search zone that encompasses Mountain View and neighboring Owls Head.
The Andersons’ camp is located about 3.5 miles away from the camp that was burglarized by the two escapees, according to Doug Anderson. The camp is located due west of Dannemora, with no roads of any kind connecting the two abodes.
Understandably, the Andersons have had many thoughts go through their minds in recent days as they wonder if their camp might be targeted by Sweat and Matt, and what might have happened if they had had the misfortune of encountering the two convicts, who remain on the loose.
“When the escape first happened, Debby and I joked about the fact that the escapees could come to our little town, and perhaps even break into our camp,” Doug, executive director of the Town Hall Theater, wrote in an emailed response to the Addison Independent. “But now that I think about it, to go from Dannemora through the town of Standish and then onto the old rail beds and logging trails would be an ideal escape route. As I say, I’ve been over those old paths, some of which led to ancient lime kilns and lovely secluded ponds. The area is still logged, but in a very selective way, so when you’re on those trails you really feel that you’re the only human being for miles and miles.”
Adding to the seclusion is that there is little or no cell phone service in that remote part of the world, according to Anderson, noting that searchers have had to bring in special equipment to boost cell phone service so everyone can communicate.
Doug Anderson hasn’t visited the camp since the evidence was discovered that the men had been in Mountain View. Debby, however, was there last Saturday when the break-in was discovered.
“I was sitting on my dock noticing the helicopters Saturday and didn’t even think of the escapees — probably just as well as I wouldn’t have slept well that night,” Debby Anderson told the Independent.
“She was alone, but she left the doors unlocked that night,” Doug recounted. “It wasn’t until the next day, when she started to head back to Middlebury, that she drove right into a clutch of state troopers at Belly’s, the only restaurant (or business of any kind) in Mountain View. She went through several roadblocks and was, I think, a little freaked out by it all. ”
Indeed she was.
“I can tell you that I was more than a little frightened,” Debby said. “I never considered that the escapees would come our way as Lyon Mountain is in between Dannemora and Mountain View.”
Undaunted, the Andersons plan to spend a week at the camp in the near future.
“Knowing that these guys are still on the loose makes us a little nervous, and I might not do much hiking in the woods this time around, but we wouldn’t miss any chance to go to this lovely spot,” he said.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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