Wash. Corrections Officer Killed by Inmate

MONROE, Wash. --

A female correctional officer at the state prison in Monroe was killed by an inmate on Saturday night.

The slain officer has been identified as 34-year-old Jayme Lee Biendl, an 8-year veteran of the facility.

According to a release from the Washington State Department of Corrections, the staff conducted a routine count of offenders Saturday after 9 p.m. and noticed that one offender was missing. He was found three minutes later in the chapel lobby and told officers he planned to escape.

An hour later, staff members noticed that a correctional officer's keys and radio were missing. Soon after, they found Biendl unresponsive and were unable to revive her using CPR. Emergency responders declared her dead at the scene at 10:49 p.m., according to the release.

Following the death, the prison went into lock-down. The suspected offender was placed in a segregation unit.

The inmate accused of killing Biendl is 52-year-old Byron E. Scherf. He has a long history of convictions, having served time in the prison system in the 1970s and 80s for an array of crimes. His last conviction was for first-degree rape, assault and kidnapping in 1997. As a three-strikes inmate, he is serving life without parole. His convictions were out of Pierce and Spokane County.

The Monroe Police Department is investigating the case.

Governor Chris Gregoire issued a statement Sunday morning regarding the killing.

"It is with a heavy heart that I offer my condolences to the family and friends of Officer Jayme Biendl," the statement read. "I am truly saddened by her senseless murder. This young woman was devoted to an agency that works around the clock to ensure our communities are safe, which makes her death all the more tragic. I ask all Washingtonians to join me in keeping her loved ones in our thoughts and prayers."

Below is a statement from Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon regarding the incident:

"I have been in touch with DOC staff regarding the terrible tragedy that has occurred at Washington State's Monroe Correctional Center. I want to express my sincere condolences for the loss of Officer Jayme Biendl. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends and colleagues. I have also spoken with other MCC officers and their families to express my sincere condolences and to offer any and all support necessary.

"This tragedy is an offense to all who work to keep this community safe and to all who call Snohomish County home. Snohomish County Government stands ready to assist the State of Washington and the Monroe Police Department during this challenging period.

"Correctional officers play an invaluable role in maintaining public safety. Each and every minute of their work day puts them in harm's way for the protection of our community. They are an integral piece of our law and justice system and their security must be a top priority."

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