July 1, 2015

The North Country Is Now Notorious

In case you were unaware, there was a bit of a manhunt here for three weeks in June. When Matt and Sweat first escaped, we felt pretty safe, since heading west was the least logical thing for them to do. Then we found out that the woman who helped them escape lived in the next town over. She also grew up on the next road over, and her family owned a camp a mile or so from Mom and Dad's farm. Helicopters checked it out, but turned up empty handed. Really, it was more of a circus than something we worried about. When Livie and I went to take pictures of Owen and Cody haying, we thought it was too bad that Lyle Mitchell, the betrayed husband, wasn't a farmer. How hilarious would news paparazzi be, hounding a farmer who is out trying to get his hay in?

But we did make sure our doors were locked. Ironically, the North Country was probably much safer during the manhunt than it normally is. Everyone's door was locked (highly unusual) and the presence of 1000+ law enforcement officers in the area probably slowed petty crime a bit.

The case was on the cover (in the side bar) of last weeks People magazine.

Yep. Northern New York's big moment in People magazine, and nestled ceramic frogs are mentioned in the first sentence. As the pastor in Dickinson Center said, "I fear for our national reputation." And here we were a month ago, unaware that we had a national reputation. 

It is a rather sordid case. An unfaithful and apparently untrustworthy woman carries on a relationship with not one inmate, but two. Then jeopardizes her job, her husband's life, her life, and Dickinson Center's national reputation by helping them escape. Then she lies about the whole kaboodle. Until her lawyer convinces her it is to her benefit to talk and she then talks so fast, we couldn't even keep up with the news updates. 

This is not the kind of person we would have elected to represent NNY in nationwide news coverage. 

But somehow, people in the comment section of most news stories about it, seem to think she is indicative of the sort of person that lives up here. One commenter said "There are probably not a lot of romantic men up there, so as soon as one came along and told her she was pretty, she couldn't resist." 

Another comment about her unattractiveness attributed it to the fact that there are probably very few beauty parlors in the area, so it isn't even really her fault she is so unattractive. 

Oh dear. 

I am not sure our national reputation can bear the strain. 

And now the manhunt is over. Both inmates were caught near Malone, the county seat, twelve miles away from here. The thousand law enforcement officers are dispersing, and taking their special tactical teams with them. Dog the Bounty Hunter, a reality TV character who added mightily to the circus-like ambiance, has headed home, bounty-less. One inmate is dead, the other is recovering from gunshot wounds in the hospital. And now we are all getting back to life as usual. (Except for the prison, which is now crawling with the FBI, which is investigating every little nook and cranny in Dannemora. Nine people have lost their jobs so far.)

When I stopped at a convenience store a week or two ago, the clerk was telling the person in line in front of me, "At least everyone will know that people actually live in the far northern part of New York." Which is something I guess. 

All in all, I think we would have preferred anonymity. 

On Monday when we went into town, we saw this large crowd of people gathered at the courthouse to thank the troopers for doing their job so effectively. Mostly I think, they were looking for a moment or two on National News, but they were probably thankful too. 

I think these women must be county employees who came out to see why everyone was hanging out on their steps. 

The State Trooper barracks had a balloon bouquet to thank them for catching the final escapee. Yes. A balloon bouquet. 

And there were lots of signs like this all through town. It was all rather celebratory. 
(LEO's are Law Enforcement Officers, in case you were wondering.)


Cecil and Amy said...

You have great writing style. I loved this entry!

Virginia said...

Listen, I'm so sorry all the men up there aren't romantic and every woman is ugly. Thank goodness those troopers are so amazing, though! ;-)