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4 Remaining Militants Tell OPB They Are Ready To Leave Refuge


A road sign marks a highway closed near Burns, Ore., near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters on Wednesday, Jan. 27.

A road sign marks a highway closed near Burns, Ore., near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters on Wednesday, Jan. 27.

Keith Ridler/AP

Just four people remain at the occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The group spoke with OPB by phone Thursday morning.

The remaining group includes David Fry of Blanchester, Ohio, husband and wife Sean and Sandy Anderson of Riggins, Idaho, and Jeff Banta of Elko, Nevada.

“We all want to leave,” Sandy Anderson said. “We’re here, and we’re worried we’re going to die.”

Three militants turned themselves in at checkpoints outside the refuge Wednesday afternoon and face felony charges.

Police said another five people were stopped and allowed to leave the refuge since law enforcement blocked roads around the area.

David Fry said he spoke to an FBI negotiator three times in the last 24 hours. He said the group is prepared to leave peacefully, but fears arrest.



One man, Sean Anderson, had been told there was a federal warrant for his arrest on charges of interfering with federal employees. Fry said FBI negotiators told him the others would be allowed to leave without facing arrest.

“As a group, we were willing to leave peacefully,” Fry said. “But they want to arrest Sean, and take Sean out, and put him in jail. We don’t want to leave Sean in that situation, because that feels unfair.”

Fry said it was not clear to him why Anderson had been singled out for arrest, because Anderson had spent comparatively little time at the refuge.

He said the four had eaten scrambled eggs for breakfast, and had spoken with their families Wednesday night.

“They don’t want us to die. They’re begging us to come home. Go to prison, for five years, is what they’re saying,” said Fry.

Fry said people leaving the refuge had taken most of the food and supplies, but that many guns had been left behind.  

He fears being arrested and spending time in prison, in part because he’s been harassed on social media and over email for his participation in the occupation. He said people have called for him to be raped in prison and to be killed.

“They were sharing my home address,” he said. “That’s kind of freaky.”

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