Investigations into death of Jayme Biendl are continuing

Several investigations into the death of corrections officer Jayme Biendl are under way.

Biendl, 34, was found strangled Jan. 29 in the prison chapel at the Washington State Reformatory in Monroe.

Inmate Byron Scherf, 52, a convicted rapist serving a life sentence without the possibili

ty of parole, is the prime suspect in the attack.

Monroe police must wrap up their criminal investigation before other agencies can delve into the case. Police served more search warrants in the past few days and are wrapping up interviews and collecting evidence, Monroe police spokeswoman Debbie Willis said.

“They’re slowing down, but it’s continuing,” she said Tuesday.

The newest search warrants were for records and paperwork documenting Scherf’s life, she said. That includes records for housing, education and his brief stint in the military. They also are looking through his medical records, including his history of medications and psychological evaluations.

As of Tuesday night, Scherf had declined to speak with investigators, she said.

Monroe police will forward their completed investigation to Snohomish County prosecutors. Prosecutors will decide on charges. Killing a corrections officer can lead to the death penalty in Washington.

Monroe Correctional Complex Superintendent Scott Frakes said he must wait until police are finished before investigating what happened the night Biendl died. Among other things, he wants to know why it took more than an hour to find Biendl after Scherf was apprehended in the chapel lobby.

Gov. Chris Gregoire wants an independent review by the National Institute of Corrections, an agency within the U.S. Department of Justice.

The state Department of Labor and Industries also is conducting an investigation. It will determine whether state workplace safety laws were violated, agency spokesman Hector Castro said. They’re required by law to wrap up the investigation in six months. If they find something wrong, they can issue citations and fines.

More in Local News

These little piggies stay home

Norman, who was spotted last week in Everett, is part of a trio kept as pets by the “pig whisperer.”

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Woman, 47, found dead in Marysville jail cell

She’d been in custody about four days after being arrested on warrants, police said.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s top images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Mill Creek’s Donna Michelson ready to retire at year’s end

The city’s longest-serving council member says she has every intention of staying involved.

Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital accepting adolescent patients

The facility is the first mental heallth unit in the county to offer in-patient services for children.

Within an hour, 2 planes crash-land at Paine Field

One simply landed hard and went off the end of a runway. Another crash involved unextended landing gear.

Ian Terry / The Herald Westbound cars merge from Highway 204 and 20th Street Southeast onto the trestle during the morning commute on Thursday, March 30 in Lake Stevens. Photo taken on 03302017
Pay a toll on US 2 trestle? 10,000 say no on social media

A GOP lawmaker’s chart shows theoretical toll rates of up to $6.30 to cross the trestle one way.

Teen murder suspect captured — then escapes and is recaptured

The 16-year-old is one of at least three young suspects in the shooting death of an Everett woman.

Most Read