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Female Prison Worker Charged With Helping Escapees; Nearly 1,000 Officers Searching For Two Killers; Officials Using Thermal Imaging Technology in Air Search. Aired 7-8:00p ET

Aired June 12, 2015 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:14] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Next, breaking news. Charged, the woman at the center of the prison break investigation in police custody, charged moments ago with helping two killers escape a maximum security prison. Her longtime friend OUTFRONT tonight.

And more breaking news in the manhunt for the convicts tonight. Nearly 1,000 law enforcement officers chasing 700 leads. Has the trail gone cold?

And was the president of an NAACP chapter pretending to be black? Her own parents say, yes. They say she's born white. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. And we begin OUTFRONT on this Friday night with breaking news in the New York manhunt. The female prison worker, Joyce Mitchell, who has been at the center of this investigation has just moments ago been charged with helping the two convicted killers escape from a maximum security prison. Tonight, the two prisoners evading about 1,000 law enforcement officials. But Mitchell is in police custody. And a source with knowledge of the investigation tells us that Mitchell had a relationship with both prisoners, Richard Matt and David Sweat. We are also learning tonight that investigators believe Mitchell's husband, who also works at the prison, may have been involved in the escape plan, at least known about it. He was not charged tonight though. Meanwhile, on day seven of the intense manhunt, a direct warning to the two convicted killers on the run just a moment ago.


MAJ. CHARLES E. GUESS, NEW YORK STATE POLICE: We have a message for David Sweat and Richard Matt. We are coming for you. And we will not stop until you are caught.


BURNETT: That just happened as I said in the past ten minutes. And just a moment, we will going to speak to a longtime friend and neighbor of Joyce and Lyle Mitchell.

First though, we begin our coverage with Alexandra Field in Saranac, New York. Alex, the district attorney moments ago at that microphone announcing these charges of Joyce Mitchell. What more did he say about her? ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on the phone): Good evening,

Erin. The District Attorney saying that authorities have been talking to Joyce Mitchell for days. But she has been cooperating with investigators. She is under arrest tonight. But they're saying that the information that she provided in those interviews has been relevant and even helpful to their search.


FIELD (voice-over): Fifty one-year-old Joyce Mitchell is now facing charges for helping two convicted killers escape from a maximum security prison in Upstate New York. Law enforcement officials tell CNN Mitchell gave Richard Matt and David Sweat hacksaw blades, drill bits and eyeglasses with lights attached. Now investigators are zeroing in on whether anything else helped the prisoners escape. Questioning Mitchell's husband Lyle who may have known about the plan. He too worked at the prison's tailor shop as a maintenance worker.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have information that's coming through through interviews, through our investigation that he possibly could have been involved or had knowledge of what was happening.

FIELD: Questions have swirled around the seamstress since the fugitives made a break for it and emerged from a manhole cover outside the Clinton correctional facility. Authorities say the hacksaw blades and other items given to the fugitives were purchased in the past few months. Police say Mitchell was set to meet them with a getaway car. But she never showed. Instead, hospitalized for a panic attack the same day of the escape. Mitchell had a relationship with both escaped prisoners, Richard Matt and David Sweat, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation. But it's unclear which one she favored. In fact, State Department of Corrections officials had received a complaint about the relationship between Joyce Mitchell and one of the two escapees. But the department reportedly didn't find enough evidence to support the claim.


BURNETT: And that was our Alexandra Field reporting. She's right outside that school where they have that press conference just moments ago. News of the charges shocking Joyce Mitchell's family and friends, including Mitchell's long time neighbor Sharon Currier who joins me on the phone. Sharon, I know you live just a few doors down from Joyce. You have known her for 15 years as a neighbor. You know, just moments ago, she was charged with helping these killers, bringing contraband to them, helping them escape. Can you believe it?

SHARON CURRIER, LONG TIME NEIGHBOR OF JOYCE AND LYLE MITCHELL (on the phone): No, I can't believe it. I really can't. I'm really shocked. I never thought she was like that. She's a very nice person.

BURNETT: And, Sharon, you know, we know she told authorities that one of the killers made her feel in her word special. What do you think could have motivated her? CURRIER: I really don't know. I don't know what she was

thinking. I don't know. I don't know. Maybe charmed her or something or money. I don't know.

BURNETT: Charm or money. I mean, everyone --

CURRIER: I don't know. I mean, something had to make her do that. She's not like that. I mean, she's not even a flirt or anything. She's just a nice person.

[19:05:10] BURNETT: She is accused, Sharon, of giving the men hacksaw blades, drill bits, lighted eye glasses, among other things. We are waiting to find out more. But that's what we have learned are among the contraband items she may have smuggled in. Did she have any familiarity with those tools that you were aware of as a longtime neighbor and friend?

CURRIER: No. I've never seen her having any tools of any kind or anything. No, I wouldn't know where she would even got them. Unless she got them at that prison. I don't know.

BURNETT: Now, your version of her --

CURRIER: I was shocked.

BURNETT: Sorry, sorry --

CURRIER: I'm just so shocked that she even participated in something like that. She never acted like that. She's a good mom. She was a good wife. She's a good person.

BURNETT: And you talk about her a good mom, a good wife, a good person. Not a flirt. It's an image of her -- and you know her well. Right? It's a real image.

CURRIER: Yes, I know her well. She went to school with my older children. My older children. You know, she went to school with them. And they were teenagers and everything. And she was never anything like that.

BURNETT: We have gotten a different picture from others. You know, her ex-husband said, oh, she's a serial cheater. Someone else said she's a troublemaker. I mean, it sounds to me like that doesn't fit at all with the woman you knew.

CURRIER: It doesn't. The woman I knew, she wasn't a troublemaker. And her first husband, he cheated on her too and never took care of his son. So, I don't think he should be even talking.

BURNETT: Now, officials have previously investigated Joyce for a relationship with one of these two men. Did she ever, Sharon, talk to you about her job, about these men, about any men in the jail?

CURRIER: No. Never. She never even talked about her job. No. She never brought it up or anything.

BURNETT: All right. Sharon, I appreciate you taking the time very much. Thank you so much.

CURRIER: Well, okay, thank you.

BURNETT: And I want to go straight now to Paul Callan, criminal defense attorney, former prosecutor and criminologist Casey Jordan. All right. You both just heard a neighbor. She has known Joyce for a very long time. Casey, in a sense, what she was saying didn't really surprise you.

CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: No. It's the same thing neighbors say when we discover serial killers. The fact of the matter is, that so many people have, if you won't call it a double life, at least a very secret life. And in this particular case, with Joyce Mitchell, that's what was so exciting. If she's a classic person who has got that hybristophilia, the whole idea, the thrill of going to work every day and having something to look forward to.

BURNETT: Hybristophilia is what you call it?

JORDAN: Yes. We have been talking about it all week, that whole obsession with the alpha male bad boy. Typically women with low self- esteem, the women who were abused as children --


JORDAN: They need that sense of romance, that almost a regressed feeling of teenage limerence. Because their lives otherwise are just so mundane. They wouldn't want to keep living.

PAUL CALLAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I call it love makes you crazy. And it actually causes a lot of crime throughout the United States.

BURNETT: So, you know, we just heard the District Attorney, Paul, right? Any moments ago he laid out the charges. Contraband and criminal facilitation. These charges together could carry a maximum of eight years and it could carry quite a while less. There could be more charges. What do you think happens from here? Because part of me, total layperson, I say, okay, they have waited a week to charge her. That means they have gotten everything they could get out of here. And it wasn't enough to actually find them.

CALLAN: They drained her dry. And the word was that she went in without a lawyer. Normally in this kind of situation, you would surrender with a lawyer and a deal would be cut in exchange for information, a recommendation for a lighter sentence. Instead, she was questioned, I understand, without a lawyer present.

BURNETT: That's our understanding.

CALLAN: These are very serious charges, promoting prison contraband is smuggling items that are banned into a prison, seven years in prison is the maximum, two and a third is the minimum. The other charge, criminal solicitation is what, in other states they called aiding and abetting somebody on the commission of crime. That's punishable by one year in prison in New York. BURNETT: Right. And of course there could be more charges.

They're living that open, they haven't yet charge her husband even though they're now saying, they may have helped or at least known which leave that open. Casey, when you hear this neighbor, you know, she also -- I had a chance to speak with her earlier in the day too in the phone. She told me, Joyce and Lyle, her husband were holding hands. They had a happy relationship. There was no indication that there was anything wrong in this marriage. And yet a source close to the investigation is telling us, she had a relationship not with just one of the killers but with both of the killers.

JORDAN: Yes. I'm not surprised. She craves the thrill of having someone pay attention to her, adore her. And you have to keep in mind that for her to keep getting away with this, for her to keep a relationship with an inmate at work ongoing, she has to hold hands with her husband. She has to throw everybody off. She has to put on a perfect public face for her neighbors.


JORDAN: And I will be so curious -- to me the huge question mark now is not Joyce Mitchell. It's Lyle Mitchell. How much did he know? If he was in charge of maintenance in that same tailor shop, perhaps that's how she got blueprints to give to these guys. And that's how she got the tools. Maybe he suspected, but he isn't complicit. I'm really interested to hear his perspective on things.

[19:10:16] BURNETT: So, Paul, the fact that they charged her now, they didn't yet charge the husband, they are charging her, what does that mean in the broader sense of, are there other people out there that might have helped them? Because again, I go back to the point of, they drained her dry in your words.


BURNETT: But that wasn't enough to find them. She doesn't know exactly where these guys are.

CALLAN: Well, I'm wondering how many people do know. They have been out long enough now that whatever their --

BURNETT: Seven days.

CALLAN: Yes. So, whatever their initial plan was, it may have been varied by weather conditions or by the pursuit of the police. So, they could be in an entirely different area than they originally planned to go to.

BURNETT: I mean, it's just stunning. Now, Casey, in terms of the husband, you suspected him of being involved all the way along. I want to understand the motivation here. Right? If it's true, his wife is sleeping with two other men. Why would he be helping those -- I don't understand.

JORDAN: I don't necessarily think he knew that there was an affair going on. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt right now.


JORDAN: I think that she was bamboozled by these inmates. And he was bamboozled by his wife. I think that she kept him close. Because if he's the maintenance worker, he's the guy who knows the inner workings of what's behind those cell wall. I've been saying all week, I will bet he's an engineer in the facility. I bet he knows where the steam pipes are on everything. And he would probably have access to those blueprint and those plans. I think she may have gotten them from him without him knowing. But never forget, a complaint was made by someone in the facility that she was having a relationship with one or both of these guys.

BURNETT: Right. Which had been investigated in the past.

JORDAN: But maybe it was Lyle who reported her. Maybe it was her own husband who turned her in. So, let's give him the benefit of the doubt until we hear where he stand on this.

CALLAN: It may be a limited conspiracy if what Casey says it's true. Because who is aiding and abetting on the outside? Both of these individuals are under police surveillance. Which would suggest that they may still be close to the prison, hiding in the woods, in a cave, in a cabin, some place that hasn't been searched.

JORDAN: She may have thrown them off their trail.

BURNETT: There's always of course that, a sinister interpretation. Okay. Thanks to both of you. And more breaking news after this. Because authorities believe the two killers are still on the run together. But here is the thing. There has been 700 leads, nearly 1,000 police are looking for them. Why haven't they found them?

And then, an outfront investigation, how exactly are police trying to track down the two killers? There's a heat seeking technology that can spot a possum on the ground miles away from a helicopter. We will going to show you exactly how it works. They are using this very technology tonight.

And a case eerily similar to this prison break. One convict escaped the same prison and avoided capture for six years.


[19:16:04] BURNETT: Breaking news, police issuing a direct warning to two killers on the loose tonight. Authorities say they will not stop hunting until men who escaped seven days ago are caught. Nearly 1,000 state, local and federal law enforcement officers are now hunting in the manhunt for two convicted killers who escaped that maximum security prison in New York. They have been following more than 700 leads in the seven days that Richard Matt and David Sweat have been missing.

Miguel Marquez is live tonight in the core search area where they are hunting. Miguel, here is what I notice when I look at you. It's pouring rain. How is that impacting the hunt?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's miserable, miserable conditions out there for both the searchers, those hundreds and hundreds of searchers were out there now. We have seen them change shifts. Many of them coming through here. But certainly, worse for those two people on the run.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): Like an army, law enforcement moving into neighborhoods, keeping the pressure on, leaving nothing to chance. Residents here, hyper-vigilant, hopeful this nightmare of desperate killers on the loose will soon end one way or another.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm home right now. I have every door locked. Everybody is scared, everybody is worried.

MARQUEZ: A former marine and an English teacher Nobert Yakey, competitive shooter for 60 years says, one saving grace in this part of the world, guns. A way of life.

(on camera): How many guns do you personally own?


MARQUEZ: Fifty? Five zero?

YAKEY: Yes. I have four gun safes.

MARQUEZ: In this normally -- of state New York wilderness community, hunting and shooting so common place, the escapees may have more to worry about than the official searchers.

(on camera): The fact that two escapees are out there may worry people. But --

YAKEY: They are not really worried.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Yakey, at 83-years-old, still a crack shot.

YAKEY: Look at those bull's eyes. Bang on, my friend.

I've been doing it for a long time.


MARQUEZ: And he might need to be. Investigators now pouring through nearby gas station surveillance video where two convicted murderers may have been rummaging for food.


MARQUEZ: Now, people in this area when they talk about Joyce Mitchell, I should say, you know, they scratch their heads as to how she could actually help. And there's some pure anger out there for her as well. So, perhaps it's best that she is behind bars or will be shortly, because there's a lot of upset throughout this community that all of this is caused by this escape -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Miguel, thank you very much.

OUTFRONT now, Jonathan Gilliam, he's a former Navy SEAL, an FBI special agent. And Gary Heyward, former prison guard who served time in jail for smuggling drugs in the infamous Rikers Prison, also author of "Corruption Officer: Perpetrator With a Badge." Thank you both for being with me.

Jonathan, let me start with you. Seven hundred leads. You heard Miguel talk about, it's swarming with law enforcement, 800, nearly 1,000. Why haven't they found them?

JONATHAN GILLIAM, FORMER NAVY SEAL: Well, I mean, they did get an eight-hour head start. So, wherever, you know, we started off with two scenarios. One, if they had help, they may not even be there. And that's really the worst scenario. I think a lot of people are starting to come away from that and think that because the dogs keep picking up scent that they are there. So, we concentrate on the scenario that they did not have help. But they still had eight hours to get, you know, three miles away. Now, this is a big area. It's very swampy. You see how bad the weather is. So, their ability to maneuver and get away is as hard as it is for the guys to come in and search for them. So, that's probably what's delaying this process.

BURNETT: And Gary, someone who served time there, I mean, you know, today they had a farm that was the focus. It was a 50 acre farm, they thought for a brief while that they were there. Everybody was converging on that space. And then they said, no. And law enforcement were leaving. There have been a few false alarmed like that. I mean, could they be missing clues and these guys are in another state or even already in Canada?

GARY HEYWARD, FORMER INMATE AND CORRECTION OFFICER: Well, I think that one of the key parts is Joyce Mitchell. If you can get her to talk. To see whether they did have help besides her. As he said, if they had outside help, they could be gone, gone somewhere else. If they had a vehicle waiting for them besides Miss Mitchell. If it was for monetary gain, if they had to pay somebody to go and get them. Because you still don't really know why she did it.


HEYWARD: Out of love or monetary gain. So, if they had some way of paying people to help them, they could have been -- they could be long gone.

BURNETT: There could be another story here. I mean, Jonathan, before this -- most escapees at least in New York area, are caught within six hours quickly and it's sort of like that around the country, there's a few exceptions but they usually caught very quickly.

GILLIAM: Right. BURNETT: Obviously here, you're not looking at seven days. Is

time working for or against the searchers?

[19:21:05] GILLIAM: Well, you know, again, it depends on where, you know, did they have help or did they not have help? I tell you who helped them inadvertently that really needs to be looked at, and that's this prison giving them green jumpsuits. Okay. You are surrounded by woods. Why would you give somebody something that is green to wear every day? Because if they escape, you know? That's why hunters wear orange in the woods so that they can be seen. I mean, there are certain things that led up to this that I think have really been -- have made it more difficult for the overall search.

BURNETT: Right. Well, at this point, I mean, I guess I could be wrong, but the assumption is right, that they have found other clothes or someone delivered them clothes or she did or something.

GILLIAM: Right. But, again, that goes back to this prison. What is going on inside of there that allowed this woman and this guy to have a relationship when they were knew about it. They didn't split them up.


GILLIAM: And then I still think and I know we were discussing this earlier. I still think that they had help making those cuts. I mean, to think that they could go in with a saw saw and make those precision cuts without -- it's so -- it's as loud as a jackhammer when you're inside with a saw saw.

BURNETT: Right. And I know Gary you agree with that. You have been agreeing with that all the way along that you think there was other help. Do you think that they are still together? That's another crucial question as they hunt.

HEYWARD: I would think, like I'm not rooting for them. But if they were out there, the best bet would be for them to stay together. I would think that they would think that to stay together so they can make moves at the same time. Because if one get caught, you don't know if he's going to turn on other, give away a location. So, I would bet that they --

BURNETT: Stay in it together?


BURNETT: And Jonathan, what about this? They have killed before. Will they kill again? Will they take hostages?

GILLIAM: These guys are psychopaths. I mean, even the way they goaded this woman into this, shows you that they are psychopaths or they at least have psychopathic tendencies. They are predators. So, these types of people are good at kind of changing their behavior and molding into an environment. So, yes, I'm sure that if their freedom that they have right now, even, you know, rough freedom for them is still freedom, it's something that they would fight for. BURNETT: And how long do they go before law enforcement pulls

back or starts to give up? I mean, they have nearly 1,000 people. You can't keep that up forever.

GILLIAM: As long as they continue to have leads, they will go. And I will say this about law enforcement, if they have the ability to shut off local waters, I would shut off water. And all those dumpsters, I would get rid of those dumpsters for a period of time. You don't want them having any type of nourishment or any kind of water. You try to shut that off. And you can lessen the time that they can stay out.

BURNETT: All right. Both of you. Thank you very much. I appreciate your time.

And next, our breaking news, nearly 1,000 officers on the ground and they are hunting for the killers. Here's some of the technology they are using. They are using some literally heat technology. You will not going to believe this. We sent a reporter up in a helicopter with an OUTFRONT investigation on exactly how it works. You will be amazed. Our exclusive report is next.

And later, a civil rights activist caught flat footed.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't understand the question.



[19:28:05] BURNETT: Breaking news at this hour on our lead story tonight. Two convicted killers on the loose, day seven of the hunt. Right now, the first arrest. Joyce Mitchell, a prison worker, charged with helping the men on your screen Richard Matt and David Sweat, escape from Clinton Correctional Facility. A high security prison -- top security prison in Upstate, New York. Law enforcement officials are telling CNN Mitchell gave the men hacksaw blades, drill bits and lighted eyeglasses. We have also learned that Mitchell had a relationship with both escaped prisoners. It's unclear which one she favored says our source.

George Mitchell's husband though Lyle Mitchell is under investigation as well. Although, breaking in the past hour, authorities saying they have not yet decided to charge him. No charges as of yet against Lyle Mitchell. He did though work in the prison as well. Right now, nearly 1,000 law enforcement officers are hunting for the two escaped convicts. Seven hundred leads. And yet those men are still on loose. Many of the leads are being followed from the air. And they are using a thermal imaging technology. This technology, if you are up in a helicopter, can spot a really tiny animal by heat. It's pretty amazing. We got an exclusive firsthand look from the air at that very same technology being used to hunt down the killers.

Here's Kyung Lah.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just got a call of shots fired.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): L.A. sheriffs' deputies John Rocks and Richard Thompson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are a police crew up in the sky.

LAH: Flying to their first call of the night as we quickly learn they are not just any air support.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Looks like a black and white image. But that's not exactly right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a picture that's generated by measuring differences in heat. The lighter the color, the hotter the temperature.

LAH: You are looking at video from a thermal imaging camera. It's the same sort of technology being used to hunt for the escaped killers in Upstate, New York Richard Matt and David Sweat. Under where we are sitting, a 360 view of Los Angeles in the dead of night, able to spot anything warm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see the heat from the engine. This car is very hot. It has been parked in the last 15 minutes in the driveway.

LAH: Even in a dense area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see a large black area. There's a critter on the ground.

LAH: In the center?


LAH: How far away are we?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three-tenths of a mile. A person on the sidewalk next to the park.

UNIDENTIFEID MALE: We have a jogger.

LAH: You can tell that was a woman. I can see her hair. A fugitive trying to crawl away, you would be able to pick it up.


LAH: How essential is the technology like this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Especially at night, you can't do it without it. That wooded area.

LAH: One of the most striking examples, the arrest of Tsarnaev. Who can forget this image? A camera saw him hiding in a backyard in a boat under a tarp before any ground officer approached. But there are limitations in a search as difficult as the New York prison break.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not x-ray vision. You can't see through trees, you can't see through leaves. It gives you that edge over the bad guys. I have seen them hiding thinking, OK, they can't see me. They can't see me. We're looking right at them.

LAH: With their high-tech eye in the sky.

Kyung Lah, CNN, flying above downtown Los Angeles at night.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: And OUTFRONT tonight, Shane Hobel, a survival expert and tracker. Luca Vullo, a pilot from the DeKalb County police aerial support division. He has used this technology in many hunts.

Luca, let me start with you. You know, you just saw this video. Our reporter Kyung was able to see a possum from a helicopter using this thermal imaging technology. So, how crucial is something like this in a manhunt?

LUCA VULLO, PILOT, DEKALB COUNTY POLICE AERIAL SUPPORT DIVISION: Erin, exactly right. This technology is fantastic for us at night as law enforcement officers. And you can get a great picture. It paints an excellent picture that you couldn't see at night otherwise.

As the sheriff's department pointed out earlier, there are some limitations. It's not x-ray. You can't see through things.


VULLO: Seeing some of the pictures I have seen from the search area in New York, those guys have quite a task ahead of them. All the heavy wooded area, it can be quite a search for him.

BURNETT: Right. And they also, you know, we keep hearing, Luca, that there are lots of homes around in this area that are temporarily abandoned, summer homes that haven't been opened up, right? Lots of structures that they could be in. If they were in a house like that, if the water wasn't turned on, heat wasn't turned on, they are the only warm thing in the house, would you be able to see them or no?

VULLO: Erin, probably not. Unless they leaned up against a wall for a long period of time and the heat transfer went through the wall, they might pick up a hot spot in the house. If they knew it was abandoned, they might have someone check it out. But otherwise, if they are under a house, it would be difficult to locate them.

BURNETT: So, it's useful. It can be transformational. But, Shane, obviously, it's not a panacea to use this thermal imaging technology. So, that hasn't been enough. Dogs haven't been enough. Although, we have heard about the use of dogs.

Is this going to come down to luck, they are in this area or they are not, they either stumble across them or they don't, which is kind of shocking?

SHANE HOBEL, SURVIVAL EXPERT: Yes. Much like Eric Frein in Pennsylvania.

BURNETT: The one killing the cops. Was found in an airport hangar.

HOBEL: In airport hangar, in a routine sweep. They didn't expect to find him there. He found his way back there, and surprised that he and they apprehended him.

So, I see a similarity where they are out there desperate, exhausted, probably dehydrated, malnourished, if they haven't been going back and forth into the suburban areas obtaining supplies. I see them kind of skirting back and forth. The woods are a great place to hide, great coverage and so on. You could hide from the thermal imaging. It's easy to defeat the dogs if you know what you're doing.

BURNETT: So, you think this will come down to human trackers, people like you who are going to go stare down at that one footprint, stare down at that candy wrapper, it's going to be human beings?

HOBEL: Absolutely. It's not part of the police and/or military training set to understand the finest levels of tracking. That's what we do. We teach law enforcement and military personnel.

But in cases like this, reach beyond the blue curtain and reach out to, there's trackers that are very talented individuals across the United States and Canada. They are here for that valuable resource. This is a perfect example of not reaching out to this.

There's two trackers within this area. They are within three hours of striking there. We can be there in a matter of hours. We would go up there free of cost, because we're already expending a tremendous amount of cost from the public. We are talking about 1,000 individuals up there wasting this time.

They did find tracks. They did find it. There was evidence.

BURNETT: So, you're saying start using the extra level.

HOBEL: Absolutely.

BURNETT: Luca, from your perspective, you know, how hard is it -- if you are looking at the thermal imaging -- you know, Shane is talking about how you still need human beings.

[19:35:05] I mean, do you agree with that? Because you would probably see all sorts of heat signatures, but you are moving quickly, you are trying to determine what's what. And as you pointed, you can't necessarily see inside structures. VULLO: Exactly. I think what he is saying is very true. We can

do a lot from the air. We can do it quickly. But unless, there's a five-mile square area they are checking, that's a huge area to check through thick trees with a thermal imaging camera, especially during the middle of the day when it's warm out. It's going to be more difficult with the camera to search.

If you have someone on the ground, a trained tracker, knows exactly what they're looking for, that would probably help in the situation.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate both of your time very much. Thank you. We will see if it ends up being humans and human trackers that break this case if these men are found.

OUTFRONT next, striking similarities between this prison break and another. You won't believe this. OK, two men, the same prison, and their willingness to do anything for freedom. This guy was free for years.

And, an NAACP president claiming to be black. Well, that's her on the left as a kid and that's her on the right looking a little different. My guest is a journalist who sensed something didn't add up about the image on the right.


[19:40:47] BURNETT: Breaking news, nearly 1,000 officers hunting for the escaped convicts, Richard Matt and David Sweat. The search now desperate in its seventh day -- significant because no New York prison escapee has evaded capture for more than three days in recent memory.

But decades ago, one notorious inmate at this very same place, Clinton correctional, managed to vanish for six years.

Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT with this stunning story.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the quiet neighborhoods of Great Falls, Virginia, Norm Hamilton seemed like a friendly family man, who drove nice cars and did well in antiques, art and real estate. That is until a double shooting in nearby Washington left one man dead and exposed a terrible secret.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welch was arrested in an upstairs apartment. The car was stolen.

FOREMAN: Welch? Yes, it turns out Norm Hamilton was really Bernard Welch, a burglar who escaped six years earlier with another man from Clinton correctional facility in New York, the same prison that held David Sweat and Richard Matt.

JIM KING, FORMER DETECTIVE: Well, he was quite the con man. FOREMAN: Former detective James King led the Welch investigation

and has co-authored a book about how a con man resumed a brutal life of crime, robbing thousands of homes of an estimated $50 million during a five-year span.

KING: As he got into it, he became more and more brazen about entering houses where people were. Particularly, single females he would target.

FOREMAN: He's terrified people.

KING: Absolutely. He came in with the guns, with a mask on and the guns stuck in tehir face, and says, do what I tell you or you're dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody is putting grills up, triple locking their doors. This is a hell of a way to live.

FOREMAN: King says Welch evaded suspicion through several key maneuvers. First, he ditched his escape partner quickly and gave that man no idea where he was going. Second, Welch moved in and had children with a woman who had a clean record, which he used for licenses, loans, car titles. And third, he was brutally efficient, stealing jewels, furs, even gold and silver memorabilia from the home of an astronaut John Glenn, and then selling it out of state.

Welch was caught only when he shot a man during a robbery and the victim ran him down with his car before dying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is an animal. I don't think I can say the rest on TV.

FOREMAN: And even then, Welch also charged with rape, shaved his mustache, hair and eyebrows before a police lineup to prevent identification. He was convicted anyway. Could the missing prison escapees Richard Matt and David Sweat pull off such a stunt?

KING: The only thing good about this case is that there's national coverage. Everybody in New York state and Vermont and places surrounding it knows of these guys. They have seen their pictures.

FOREMAN: So, maybe they won't be like Welch.

KING: Correct.


BURNETT: Maybe they won't be like Welch. But, I mean, Tom, it's been seven days. Usually, it's only a few hours. They have gotten this far.

What do you think? I mean, how far could these similarities go?

FOREMAN: Well, similarities could go a long way. You point out something wise. This is like investigating a crime. Those early hours really matter. Every day, every hour that they

are not caught gives them more time to get entrenched or settled in what they are doing or to get further away and it gets more complicated.

Will they likely stay on the run forever? Probably not. Usually people somehow get tripped up. If they start doing the things that Welch did, avoiding all contact with other known criminals, acting like sort of normal people and getting access to the documents and things that make us all seem normal, yes, Erin, then you talk about a really long search that could go a long distance, too, before you ever find these guys.

BURNETT: Pretty stunning. Right, yes, things like getting the driver's license, those basic things, getting the mortgage. Thank you, Tom Foreman.

And OUTFRONT next, a civil rights activist accused of pretending to be black. Is she actually white? She's the same person, by the way, on the screen, just to make that clear. Is she a fraud?


REPORTER: Are you African-American?

[19:45:03] RACHEL DOLEZAL, SPOKANE NAACP: I don't -- I don't understand the question.


BURNETT: Flaunting its newest Dreamliner, ha, capable of making swift turns. I mean, hey, don't you want to take off like this on your next flight?


BURNETT: Controversy brewing tonight over the race of a leader in the NAACP. Rachel Dolezal is the president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP. She's a well known member of the African-American community. She says she's black. But her parents are deeply confused because they're white and they're now speaking out.

Stephanie Elam is OUTFRONT.


[19:50:00] STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It seems like an easy question.

REPORTER: Are your parents, are they white?

ELAM: But for Rachel Dolezal, it was enough to make her run from a local reporter.

Dolezal is president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP and professor of Africana studies at Eastern Washington University. For years, the 37-year-old has claimed she's black, reinforcing

that belief by posting pictures like this one from the Spokane NAACP Facebook page. The caption underneath says her father presumably this black man will be a special guest at one of their events.

But this is the birth certificate CNN obtained from Rachel's parents. This is her biological mother and this is her father, proving that Rachel Dolezal is white.

The couple says their daughter has never claimed to be black in their presence, though due to a legal dispute, they haven't talked to her in years.

RUTHANNE DOLEZAL, RACHEL'S MOTHER: That's her request, that's because Rachel has chosen to distance herself from the family and be hostile toward us. She doesn't want to be seen with us because that ruins her image.

ELAM: An image the Dolezals who adopted four black children say came about gradually around 2007.

R. DOLEZAL: Rachel has always been interested in ethnicity and diversity and we had many friends of different ethnicities when she was growing up.

ELAM: So interested in black culture that Dolezal left Montana to go to college in Jackson, Mississippi, before earning a masters degree from Howard University, a historically black institution in 2002.

Throughout her career, she has fought for racial equality. Here she is with Baltimore prosecutor, Marilyn Mosby.

Dolezal was also appointed to oversee equality in the police department. On her application however, she indicated that she is white, black, and Native American.

Now, the city is checking to see if this new revelation has violated any policies.

MARC LAMONT HILL, PROFESSOR, MOREHOUSE COLLEGE: The truth here is she is a white woman is exercising extraordinary privilege to try on blackness, some people say to try on everything but the burden, and to decide how and when she wants to be the thing she can always walk away from.

ELAM: CNN tried unsuccessfully to reach Dolezal for comment. As with the NAACP, the organization is standing behind Dolezal, saying, quote, "We encourage Americans of all stripes to become members and serve as leaders in our organization."


ELAM: And it is worth point outing that you don't have to be black to be a leader with the NAACP and you didn't have to be black to go to Howard University. These are just some of the issues people are pointing to.

But what's really at issue here is why she felt the need to lie about it. I spoke to the director of the program that she teaches for Eastern Washington University, and he says that he always knew she had white in her, but assumed that she was black as well. But was more impressed with her effectiveness in the classroom.

And, Erin, what's interesting is that a lot of people who know her are actually rallying behind her, saying she has been an effective person leading for change in race relations.

BURNETT: All right. Stephanie, thank you very much.

That may be the case, but you just heard Marc Lamont Hill.

Maureen Dolan is the reporter who broke the news about Rachel Dolezal's mistaken racial identity, and she joins me now by phone from Idaho.

Maureen, you just heard Marc Lamont Hill, African-American professor, who's on this network a lot say, look, as if she is trying on blackness, everything but the burden. It's upset him. And a lot of people are wondering, what would compel someone to fake a racial identity.

What's your impression of Rachel?

MAUREEN DOLAN, BROKE STORY ABOUT RACHEL DOLEZAL (via telephone): Well, honestly, I don't really know, you know, particularly, why she would do this. But I do know she is extremely intelligent, and well- educated and deeply passionate about civil rights. And -- you know, I think that --

BURNETT: So, she is intelligent. She's well-educated. You have known her, I know for a long time, as a reporter more than seven years. And you actually questioned this issue back in 2009. You asked her at that time if she was black.

What made you ask the question then? And how has her appearance changed since you have known her? I mean, has it been something that at first obvious it wasn't true and has become less obvious? Or how would you describe it?

DOLAN: There were questions in the community because her appearance had -- had changed she had begun to dress more ethnically, when she was out in public. And -- you know her, her complexion changed somewhat. There were discussions in the community, people questioned it. And I have to say that I often, I always said, you know, I saw what they were talking about.

However, I felt that the work that she was doing was very important. So, I mean, I just didn't think about it too much. But when she had nooses, which is really a very specific sort of racial terrorism landing on her front porch, I felt like it was important to see if this was because of her ethnicity that she thought this was happening or because of her advocacy work. [19:55:12] She had told the police it was both. I did ask her, I

did ask her the question, are you black?

BURNETT: All right, it is an incredible story. And, Maureen, we appreciate your being with us. Thank you very much.

As I said, Maureen, one of the reporters to break this incredible story getting national attention now.

And next, aviation acrobatics. OK, just imagine you're taxiing along, you know, I don't know, going to Chicago. And this how your plane takes off you. Think you are dead, right? We'll show you what happens next.


BURNETT: Tonight's "Money and Power", Boeing releasing this video of its newest Dreamliner. It's 787-9. That's takeoff.

It looks like 90 degrees, incredible or hell depending on how much you've look to fly. One 767 pilot tells CNN the plane was likely able to make the assent it was lighter no passengers on board. Anyway, Boeing has sold more than 500 of this plane. The list price for that would be $131 billion. Holy cow.

Thanks for joining us. Anderson starts now.