Two prisoners from York Correctional in Niantic who escaped from the facility over the weekend have been captured in Hartford after an extensive search. And now, a debate on whether the prison is properly secured is under way.
State police said Melissa Riley and Jessica Rivera were located Sunday night in Hartford, nearly 24 hours after they walked away from the prison.
Riley, 30, and Rivera, 34, were noticed to be missing from York Correctional in Niantic at about 8:15 p.m. Saturday. Staff at the correctional facility said they realized the two were missing as the group they were with was returning from the gym.
Officials said at that time, the facility was locked down and an emergency head count was performed that confirmed that the women were nowhere to be found.
The escape is classified by officials as a walk away since the facility is not entirely fenced in that area. Some parts of the fence are broken, and at some points, there are no enclosures at all.
"That's the first thing I thought of," said Linda Salvemini of Niantic, who lives near the prison. "It's easy for them to walk out of here, because they're down."
The inmates lived in a minimum security part of the facility, according to a Department of Corrections spokesperson.
"Any time offenders walk away from a facility, it's unusual," said warden Stephen Faucher. "It doesn't happen very often, and it's a very serious offense in the Department of Corrections."
Police said around 8 p.m. Sunday the pair was located in Hartford. Both were taken into custody without incident.
The women were transported to the State Police barracks in Montville, where they were processed, charged and brought back to York. They are expected to appear in New London Superior Court Tuesday.
The two were both previously convicted on drug, larceny, robbery and burglary charges and had about three years left on their sentences. However, officials said, more time will likely be added because of the escape.
According to officials, Rivera has escaped from the prison previously.
Residents who live close to the prison are worried about security at the facility.
"You don't know what a person can do or will do," Salvemini said.
Nick Macri said the women being held at the prison could "overpower any of the older ladies" who live in a neighboring apartment complex.
"Some of the people there you can trust, but apparently, you can't trust those two," he said.
East Lyme First Selectman Paul Formica discussed the security measures at the prison.
"Those folks … need full enclosure and fully enclosed and closely monitored," he said.
Security issues, including the possibility of putting up a fence, will be brought up at the next meeting between the wardens and the town.
When contacted by Eyewitness News, there was no comment from the Department of Corrections.
Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 9:10 PM EDT2013-05-22 01:10:01 GMT
The fiance of a 40-year-old man, who was shot and killed after trying to sell electronics off Craigslist in Hartford, speaks to Eyewitness News for the first time Tuesday. Felix DeJesus, of Cromwell, wasMore >
The girlfriend of a 40-year-old man, who was shot and killed after trying to sell electronics off Craigslist in Hartford, speaks to Eyewitness News for the first time Tuesday.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 8:58 PM EDT2013-05-22 00:58:27 GMT
A New York man was arrested for making threatening phone calls to the families of the victims of the Newtown school shooting and Connecticut lawmakers. On Dec. 14, 20 first graders and six adults wereMore >
A New York man was arrested for making threatening phone calls to the families of the victims of the Newtown school shooting and Connecticut lawmakers.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 10:21 AM EDT2013-05-22 14:21:28 GMT
ORLANDO, FL (RNN) – A man with possible ties to a Boston Marathon bombing suspect was shot and killed after the FBI interviewed him early Wednesday. The FBI confirmed a special agent fatally shot a manMore >
The FBI confirmed a special agent fatally shot a man in custody while conducting "official duties," spokesman Dave Couvertier told NBC News. In a WESH interview, a friend identified the deceased as Ibragim Todashev, 27.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 8:40 PM EDT2013-05-22 00:40:27 GMT
A house fire in Ellington may have occured after it was struck by lightning Tuesday night. Few details were being released, but officials said the fire occured at 8 Zimmerman Way just before 8 p.m. ThereMore >
A house in Ellington may have been struck by lightning Tuesday night.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 8:26 PM EDT2013-05-22 00:26:23 GMT
A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for the all of northern Connecticut until 9 p.m.National Weather Service officials said people should be on the lookout for threatening weather and to pay attentionMore >
Tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings were issued in Litchfield county Tuesday evening as severe weather moved into the state.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 6:03 PM EDT2013-05-21 22:03:06 GMT
A family spokesperson told Eyewitness News that the body of a missing Eastern Connecticut State University student was found dismembered. Alyssiah Wiley was last seen since April 20 when she said she wasMore >
A family spokesperson told Eyewitness News that the body of a missing Eastern Connecticut State University student was found dismembered.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-21 23:16:48 GMT
MOORE, OK - The Oklahoma County Sheriff's office tweeted a photo of a frightened, muddy dog Monday after the deadly EF-5 tornado ripped through the town.The comment accompanying the photo said, "scared,More >
A heartbreaking photo of a little dog guarding the body of his owner, who was killed in the Moore, OK, tornado, is going viral.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 5:23 AM EDT2013-05-22 09:23:52 GMT
Happy Saturday, Rain is on its way – as expected – but it will not hamper the entire weekend. Early this morning, there will be low clouds, fog and drizzle in many parts of Connecticut. This will haveMore >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 8:50 AM EDT2013-05-22 12:50:35 GMT
As emergency crews continue their desperate search for survivors in the wake of the devastating tornado that leveled most of Moore, OK, Channel 3 Eyewitness News is teaming up with the American Red CrossMore >
As emergency crews continue their desperate search for survivors in the wake of the devastating tornado that leveled most of Moore, OK, Channel 3 Eyewitness News is teaming up with the American Red Cross to hold a fundraiser for victims.More >