Malta Mom Feared Mess Would Leave Killers With Wrong Impression

By Fenwick Jolsen

Published June 29th, 2015

View from Vadney's cabin

MALTA — When Erma Vadney heard two convicted killers had escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility near Plattsburgh, she immediately jumped into her car and drove three hours north to her family’s remote Adirondack cabin.

“There are prisons all over that area and I know from other escapes that have happened over the years that whenever inmates are on the run up there, they usually wind up hiding out in someone’s cabin in the woods,” the Malta woman said. “It’s just inevitable.”

The very thought that inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt might have been headed for her family’s cottage on Long Lake was almost too much to bear, said Vadney.

“The place was a mess. There were dirty dishes in the sink, the bedding wasn’t fresh and there wasn’t a morsel of food in the place,” said the mother of four. “I could just imagine what those two killers might have thought of us had they broke in to our place and found things in that condition. First impressions matter.”

Against her family’s wishes, Vadney raced north, stopping at Hannaford along the way.

“Nothing extravagant,” said the homemaker. “Just some cold cuts, bread, pretzels, and sweet tea. Just enough so that the cupboards weren’t bare. Then I washed the dishes, tossed the old bedding in the trunk of the car, put on some clean sheets and got out of there.

“Yes, these men are killers. But that’s their business,” added Vadney. “At the end of the day, they are still potential guests in our home and it’s my job to be the best host I can be. Manners and etiquette matter. I would have been absolutely horrified had these murderers broke into our home and came away thinking my we were a bunch of slobs.”


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