Warrant: Prison escapees picked up by vehicle

The two women charged with escaping from the Janet S. York Correctional Institution in Niantic on Saturday apparently made their escape by fleeing to a location on nearby Roxbury Road, where they were picked up by someone in a vehicle, according to a court document.

Melissa Riley, 30, of Willimantic, and Jessica Rivera, 34, of Waterbury, were arrested at an undisclosed location in Hartford around 8 p.m. Sunday, about 24 hours after Department of Correction officials said the two woman had fled into the woods while walking from the gymnasium to their housing unit.

Riley was arraigned in New London Superior Court Tuesday on a charge of first-degree escape from custody. Rivera is due in court today.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit prepared by State Trooper Ben Duffy, a trooper and his canine tracked the women from the prison grounds to 238 Roxbury Road and found Riley’s prison identification tag there in the snow. The canine track ended near the edge of the road, where it appeared a vehicle had been parked. Witnesses confirmed that a car had been parked in the area, according to the affidavit.

At the arraignment, Riley was accompanied by two correction officers and flanked by judicial marshals as she stood before Judge John J. Nazzaro. She was handcuffed in the front and wearing yellow Department of Correction garb.

Nazzaro set her bond at $100, noting a minimal bond is required because Riley is a prisoner and is not due to be released until Dec. 28, 2014. She is serving a 39-month sentence for possession of narcotics.

Rivera, who has previous convictions for robbery and burglary, is serving a four-year sentence for conspiracy. Correction officials said she had a previous escape, in 2006, from a community-release program.

k.florin@theday.com

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