Helen Premo, who was married to Mitchell's first husband, tells PEOPLE "her self-esteem must be shot"

By K.C. Baker
June 16, 2015 01:45 PM
G.N. Miller/Pool/Getty

Only Joyce Mitchell knows why she allegedly helped two convicted murderers escape from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York.

But Helen Premo, who was married to Mitchell’s first husband, Tobey Premo, came to her own conclusion: “Her self-esteem must be shot if she is looking for approval from murderers,” she tells PEOPLE. “She is married with a son. She had a good job. She had a good life. Now she threw it all away.”

While Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 35, remain on the run, Mitchell, 51, who was a supervisor in the tailor shop at the maximum security prison, is charged with promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a felony, and criminal facilitation in the fourth degree, a misdemeanor.

Court papers say she provided the convicts with hacksaw blades, chisels, a punch and a screwdriver bit to help them in their brazen, made-for-Hollywood escape on June 6.

David Sweat (left) and Richard Matt
New York State Police

Mitchell had also discussed a plan to pick up the escapees when they emerged from a manhole cover near the prison and had even allegedly planned to possibly murder Mitchell’s husband, Lyle, before fleeing to an undisclosed location, possibly seven hours away, authorities said.

Even though Mitchell has been accused of being involved with both men, her husband visited Mitchell in jail on Tuesday morning, CNN reports.

Sources have told CNN that Mitchell had relationships with both Sweat and Matt, and that the relationship with at least one of the men was sexual.

And a law enforcement source told CBS News that Joyce Mitchell, the prison worker accused of helping Sweat and Matt escape, said she had sex multiple times with Matt inside the maximum security prison, reports CBS News correspondent Anna Werner.

Joyce Mitchell leaving court on June 15
/G.N. Miller/Reuters/Landov

Premo says she wasn t surprised when she learned that Mitchell allegedly helped the men, since she says Mitchell and her ex-husband divorced amid accusations that she cheated on him with Lyle.

“When I read that she said that one of the convicts made her feel special, it seems like she is looking for attention. You don t feel special in your own right?

“I don t think those guys had any intention of having a life with her. I think she should have just stuck with what she had,” Premo said. “Jobs are hard to come by in the north there. She had a good job.”

She adds: “It’s kind of boring where they live. You’re not going to find a lot of excitement. It’s near the Adirondacks. Even so, she was married, had a wonderful son, a house, a good job and a decent life and she blew it.

“She screwed it all up for this and now she is looking at time.”

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