RECENTLY FALLEN: Correctional Officer Jayme Lee Biendl, Washington State Department of Corrections

At nearly 11:00 pm on Saturday January 29, Correctional Officer Jayme Lee Biendl was tragically found and pronounced dead in the Monroe Correctional Facility’s chapel, located about 30 miles northeast of Seattle, after paramedics’ unsuccessful attempts at resuscitation.

The 34-year-old officer had been assigned to prison chapel, and was discovered there after her radio and keys were noticed missing by workers at the Monroe Correctional Complex. According to authorities, she had been strangled by a microphone cord.

An inmate, who was reported missing during a routine count at approximately 9:14 pm, was later found in the chapel lobby and told officers he planned to escape. The prisoner, who is serving a life sentence, is suspected in the murder of Correctional Officer Biendl, and remains in custody in a segregation unit.   

One of the 17 officer fatalities reported in the first month of the New Year, eight-year-veteran Officer Jayme Lee Biendl is the first from Washington killed on duty, and the first officer killed by strangulation, in 2011. She is the second officer, and first-ever female officer, to be strangled to death in Washington recorded law enforcement history, the first being in 1920.

In an issued statement, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said she had asked Department of Corrections Secretary Eldon Vail to thoroughly review the incident and look at the safeguards in place at the Monroe complex.

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