Worries Unheeded, Prison Guard Killed

Article excerpt

Byline: Associated Press

MONROE, Wash. -- A corrections officer who had raised concerns about being the sole guard in the chapel of a Washington state prison was strangled there over the weekend, and an inmate serving a life sentence is the primary suspect, authorities said Sunday.

Jayme Biendl, 34, was found dead Saturday night in the chapel at Monroe Correctional Complex about 30 miles northeast of Seattle, Department of Corrections spokesman Chad Lewis said. She had been strangled with a microphone cord.

The male inmate, whose identity has not been released by authorities, was reported missing during a routine count at 9:14 p.m. Saturday. He was found three minutes later in the chapel lobby and told officers he had planned to escape.

"He is our primary suspect," Monroe police spokeswoman Debbie Willis said. Biendl was fully clothed and there was no evidence of a sexual assault, Willis said.

Lewis said Biendl was ending her shift at 10 p.m. but had not reported back or turned in her equipment, which sparked concerns. Staff members immediately went to the chapel and found her unresponsive.

Emergency responders were called and Biendl was declared dead at 10:49 p. …