FORKS — Forks jail staffing and procedures are being reviewed after two inmates escaped Monday night, leading to one found dead by suicide and a corrections officer hospitalized with facial fractures, Police Chief Mike Rowley said Wednesday.
Bail was set at $150,000 Wednesday for Alejandro “Alex” Cendejas-Montoya, 22, of Forks, who was captured without incident early Tuesday in Forks near a family member’s home at the Rainforest Trailer Park off South Forks Avenue.
Cendejas-Montoya had bail set at his first appearance in Clallam County Superior Court before Judge Christopher Melly on Class A felony charges of first-degree assault and first-degree robbery and a Class C felony charge of second-degree escape.
Melly placed a 72-hour hold on Cendejas-Montoya and set a 1 p.m. hearing for Friday for the filing of formal charges.
Authorities say Cendejas-Montoya escaped from the jail, which houses people being held and jailed for misdemeanors, at about 9 p.m. Monday with Boe James Baker, 35, of Forks. Both were dressed in orange jail garb.
Baker’s body was found early Tuesday morning hanged by his own hand by a piece of his clothing from the branch of a large bush outside a home about five blocks from the jail, authorities said.
During their escape, Cendejas-Montoya and Baker allegedly assaulted Corrections Officer Sue Roberts, according to the arrest report released Wednesday.
Roberts was in stable condition at Forks Community Hospital, Rowley said Wednesday.
Rowley said Roberts was being treated for three facial fractures mainly inflicted by Baker.
The escape began with Roberts at an open cell block door without another officer present while exchanging bedding with Cendejas-Montoya, Rowley said.
Cendejas-Montoya, who had falsely claimed his cell had flooded, shoved Roberts while attempting to grab her keys, according to the arrest report.
Simultaneously, Baker punched her in the face and head, causing Roberts to fall down, according to the report.
“We know that Baker was the primary aggressor with closed-fist punches to the face,” Rowley said.
While being pummeled, Roberts closed the block door to prevent other inmates from getting out, Rowley said.
According to the arrest report, Baker continued punching Roberts until she gave him the keys. Baker gave them to Cendejas-Montoya, who opened the door to the control room, and the two exited the building to the parking lot.
As they left the building, Forks Police Officer Brent Kempster was parking his vehicle, Rowley said.
As officers chased Baker and Cendejas-Montoya, the inmates split up and got away.
Baker’s body was found the following morning.
Under normal procedures, if a corrections officer has to make contact with an inmate after hours, the jail staff person would contact a police officer on duty — the jail is in the same building as the police department — and the officer on duty would assist the corrections officer, Rowley said.
“That didn’t occur that night,” he said. “We are reviewing polices and procedures as well as the staffing levels.”
The jail has a sergeant and four corrections officers and is budgeted for five corrections officers.
The department is trying to fill the vacancy.
“I would love to have more staffing, but budget-wise, it’s not possible,” Rowley said.
After the inmates split up Monday night at the outset of their escape, Cendejas-Montoya went to the Forks home of his father, who turned him away, Rowley said.
Cendejas-Montoya was apprehended by members of the joint inmate recovery team from Olympic Corrections Center in Jefferson County and Clallam Bay Corrections Center at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Using thermal imaging binoculars in the dark, the officers spotted him walking down a trail near the mobile home park, saw him go into a trailer and called out to him to come out, Rowley said.
“He went peacefully,” Rowley said. “He just got to where he was cold enough that he wanted to come into town for resources.”
Rowley said he did not know how Cendejas-Montoya obtained clothing that differed from his orange jail jumpsuit.
Before he escaped from jail, Cendejas-Montoya was being held on a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.
Baker had been arrested Jan. 5 on a state Department of Corrections warrant for failing to make himself available for supervision on a heroin possession conviction.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at email@example.com.