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Prosecutors: Ryan Bundy Jail Escape Foiled During Cell Search


Prosecutors said jail staff found the braided rope during a search of Ryan Bundy’s cell on April 8.

Prosecutors said jail staff found the braided rope during a search of Ryan Bundy’s cell on April 8.

Rick Bowmer/AP

Federal prosecutors said Monday that Ryan Bundy tore his bed sheets and braided them together into 12–15 feet of rope in an attempt to escape Multnomah County Jail.    

Bundy is at the jail awaiting trial for his role in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation earlier this year.

“We have actual evidence that he tried to escape,” Assistant U.S. Prosecutor Geoffrey Barrow told the court during a pre-trial detention hearing in Portland.

Barrow said jail staff found the braided rope under Bundy’s mattress when they searched his cell on April 8. Barrow also said Bundy had stored containers of extra food along with six pillowcases, a chair, two extra pairs of boxers and more torn sheets.

Barrow told Judge Robert Jones that at the time Bundy told the bailiffs that he was “‘a rancher, trying to practice braiding rope.’”

Bundy denied that he had any plans to escape the jail, and said the extra items were for “comfort.”

“It’s self-serving speculation,” Bundy told the court, “and simply not true, your honor.”  

Staff at the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the incident Monday.

Capt. Steve Alexander said Bundy was administratively written up for contraband and misuse of jail property, but was not formally charged with attempted escape. 

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