Food is one way to a man's heart — and apparently to his prison escape. Prison tailor Joyce Mitchell managed to smuggle hacksaw blades inside frozen meat that convicts Richard Matt and David Sweat used to bust out of an upstate New York institution, she has told investigators.

Mitchell also used homemade baked goods to win favors from guards for the men, who are still on the run three weeks after they escaped. Authorities believe they are still holed up somewhere in the general region of the prison.

Mitchell told investigators she used baked goods to convince one guard to pass frozen hamburger meat holding the hacksaw blades to Sweat, bypassing the prison's metal detector in violation of policy, a source told CNN. The guard's attorney says he had no idea there was contraband inside the meat.

Mitchell, 54, is also accused of supplying chisels, a punch and a drill bit to the men, which were all hidden inside meat, Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie told NBC News. She has been charged with aiding in their escape. Authorities speculate that Mitchell may have had a sexual relationship with at least one of the men, which Mitchell has told her husband is not true, according to him.

She told her spouse, who also works at the prison, that she showed "a little affection" to the men, but never had sex with them, and quickly realised as they neared their escape that she was in over her head helping them, her husband, Lyle Mitchell, told NBC's Matt Lauer.

When Mitchell became frightened and decided not to drive the men to an escape point they threatened to "do something to me, to harm me, or kill me, or somebody outside of the jail, if she didn't stay with this," said Lyle Mitchell.

Matt, 48, and Sweat, 35, cut holes through steel cell walls, then shimmied along catwalks and through pipes before emerging from a manhole outside the prison gates and disappearing 6 June. DNA from Matt and Sweat has been found in a burglarised cabin not far from where the convicted murders broke out, a source has told CNN.