FORKS — Law enforcement authorities said Tuesday a Forks city jail inmate apparently committed suicide by hanging himself after escaping Monday night from the facility.
An inmate with whom he fled the jail was apprehended Tuesday evening.
The body of Boe James Baker, 35, of Forks was found hanging by a piece of his clothing from the branch of a shrub on private property in the 100 block of Fir Street in Forks about 100 yards from the jail, Brian King, Clallam County Sheriff’s Office chief criminal deputy, said Tuesday afternoon.
“All evidence suggests suicide,” King said.
The homeowner discovered Baker’s body at about 8 a.m. Tuesday, King said.
King said an inmate recovery team organized by the Clallam Bay Corrections Center and the Olympic Corrections Center in Jefferson County looked for Alejandro “Alex” Cendejas-Montoya, 22, of Forks throughout Tuesday before arresting him at about 6 p.m. at a family member’s residence in Forks.
The two inmates escaped after assaulting a female corrections officer while the two were outside their cells, King said.
The corrections officer was rushed, knocked to the ground and struck several times before the inmates grabbed door keys and fled, according to a statement Tuesday from authorities.
The officer, whose name is being withheld, remained hospitalized Tuesday afternoon with multiple facial fractures as a result of the assault and is expected to remain there Wednesday.
“She was seriously injured in the escape,” King said Tuesday.
King would not comment on how Baker and Cendejas-Montoya escaped.
The Forks jail was put on lockdown after the escape, he said.
“Security measures are up in the jail because of what happened,” he said.
The Forks Police Department, Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, La Push Police Department and the State Patrol also took part in the search.
Officers began interviewing jail inmates Tuesday afternoon, King said.
Cendejas-Montoya’s father saw his son at about 9 a.m. Tuesday when he sought shelter at his father’s house in Forks, King said.
Cendejas-Montoya had already changed out of his orange jail jumpsuit and was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and mud-covered pants.
King said he did not know how he obtained different clothing.
“There’s no indication at this point that he had any help,” King said.
Baker was being held in the jail on a state Department of Corrections hold.
Baker was assigned to DOC supervision Nov. 9 after pleading guilty Nov. 9 to possession of heroin.
He had been sentenced to two months in jail with credit for time served and 12 months of community supervision, according to Superior Court records.
Baker was arrested Jan. 5 and booked into Forks on a DOC warrant for failing to make himself available for supervision on the charge, Brian Frazier, the DOC community corrections supervisor based in Port Angeles, said Tuesday afternoon.
Baker was facing at least a Class C felony charge for the assault on the corrections officer, King said.
Cendejas-Montoya had been being held on a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, Forks District Court Clerk Mark Downing said earlier Tuesday.
According to the statement from authorities, Forks police officers were chasing the inmates on foot when the two split up and began jumping fences before vanishing from sight.
The Forks Police Department issued a Facebook page alert Monday night after the escape urging residents in the area of the jail at 500 Division St. to stay indoors, lock their homes and not open their doors to strangers, Downing said.
Forks Police Chief Mike Rowley could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The Forks jail houses inmates arrested on misdemeanor charges.
Inmates also can be jailed there pending transport to the county jail on more serious charges, King said.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].