Alejandro Cendejas-Montoya

Alejandro Cendejas-Montoya

Arraignment set for man accused of jail escape in Forks

PORT ANGELES — Bail of $150,000 and a Feb. 23 arraignment date were set Wednesday for an inmate who allegedly escaped from the Forks jail Jan. 15 with a second inmate whom authorities said later hanged himself.

Alejandro Cendejas-Montoya, 22, remained in the Clallam County jail Thursday.

Officer Sue Roberts, who was injured after being attacked by the two men during the escape, remains on paid injury leave, Forks Police Chief Mike Rowley said Thursday.

Boe James Baker, 35, of Forks hanged himself with a piece of clothing from his orange jail garb in the yard of a private residence about five blocks from the jail soon after the 9 p.m. Jan. 15 escape, authorities said.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge Erik Rohrer on Wednesday set Cendejas-Montoya’s arraignment date on charges of second-degree jail escape, first-degree robbery connected to the theft of keys from a jail corrections officer and second-degree assault related to an attack on the woman when the inmates fled.

Bail of $150,000 had been set for Cendejas-Montoya on Jan. 17 for investigation of second-degree escape, first degree robbery, and first-degree assault, but there was not enough information for a formal charging decision to be made, Forks Police Chief Mike Rowley said Thursday.

So Rohrer reset bail at $150,000 on Thursday.

Roberts was attacked first by Cendejas-Montoya, who tried to take her jail keys, then by Baker, who punched her in the head and face and caused her to fall to the ground, according to the probable cause statement. Baker also took the keys, according to the statement.

Roberts, who suffered three facial fractures and had heart palpitations from the attack, remains on paid medical leave, Forks Chief Mike Rowley said Thursday.

Rowley said he expects Roberts to return to duty.

“We’re making sure we’re giving her enough time to heal and make a decision, and hopefully she returns and we can support her in every way in the decision she’s going to make,” Rowley said.

“She a valued employee, and I’m not going to pressure her.”

Cendejas-Montoya had been serving a sentence on a drug-paraphernalia charge related to possession of heroin while already being incarcerated at the jail, according to the case report.

The jail escape was precipitated by a ruse perpetrated by Cendejas-Montoya and Baker, according to the probable cause statement.

Roberts opened a cell-block door to hand the two bedding after they had claimed their sheets had been soaked by a broken toilet that had flooded their cell, according to the probable cause statement.

Rowley said Roberts should have been accompanied by an officer from the police station, located in the same building as the jail, but was not.

“I don’t believe the officer did anything wrong that would sustain any type of discipline,” he said.

“We are looking to hire and are updating our procedures. They have to rely on an officer to respond, to have direct contact [with inmates].

“That will change when we have [an additional] corrections officer.

“We’re doing our best to limit any times when there is only one officer.”

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.

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