Richard Matt’s body goes unclaimed, but Matt’s son says he’ll claim it

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The body of a man who escaped from a maximum security prison only to be shot 20 days later has gone unclaimed.

Officials spoke to CBS News saying they’ve reached out to Matt’s family, including his estranged son, 23-year-old Nick Harris, but haven’t gotten an official response. Harris in a comment to News 4 said he intends to claim his father’s body, saying he felt his father’s death was wrongful.

Harris says being shot three times in the head is excessive. In addition to pursuing his father’s body, Harris said he would like to retrieve letters between he and his father which police seized as part of their investigation.

Matt died following a confrontation with a highly trained Customs and Border Patrol team. Officials with New York State Police say the team ordered Matt to put down his 20-gauge shotgun, but he didn’t follow orders, prompting them to shoot him three times in the head.

That ended the 20-day manhunt for Matt after he escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, but the hunt for David Sweat, the 35-year-old man who also escaped with him, continued for two more days.

When Harris spoke out about his dad, he called him a genius who could adapt to situations. Harris said he never knew his father because his dad faced imprisonment when he was just a child.

Officials say Matt’s family is now dealing with a Plattsburgh funeral home to arrange the transfer of the body. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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