Relatives of escaped Tonawanda murderer questioned

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – New York State Police investigators have been questioning relatives of Richard Matt, the convicted murderer who escaped from the maximum security prison in Dannemora with another inmate on Saturday.

Matt grew up in the City of Tonawanda.

He has been serving a 25 year to life term for the 1997 kidnapping, torture and murder of his boss, William Rickerson, a North Tonawanda businessman.

Rickerson’s body was dismembered. Police divers found some of the man’s remains in the Niagara River.

Federal marshals have also been talking to retired detectives who once had worked the case in Erie and Niagara counties.

State police have set up a command post at the Clinton Correctional Facility where 49 year-old Matt and 35 year-old David Sweat used power tools to cut through a steel prison wall to make their escape.

Richard Matt’s criminal history started with harassment, assault, and weapons possession, according to City of Tonawanda Police Captain Fredric Foels.

“He was hell on wheels,” he said.

Asked if Richard Matt might try and make his way back to Western New York, Captain Foels said “We have no clue where Matt’s whereabouts are. But never say never. I mean he could try and make it back here.”

“I don’t think they’re dumb enough to go back where people would be looking for him,” said Judie Gebera, who lives near Matt’s relatives in the City of Tonawanda. “I think they’re in Canada,” she said.

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