An aggravated murder suspect who escaped a psychiatric hospital in Oregon while shackled at the arms, legs and stomach was taken back into custody after an unusual rescue, authorities announced Friday.
Christopher Lee Pray, 39, was captured Friday, according to Oregon State Police. He had been in custody and a patient at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem before his escape on Wednesday.
Emergency crews responded to a call Friday morning about a possible dead body in a pond and instead found a man stuck in mud up to his armpits, about 75 feet from sturdy ground, a news release from the OSP said.
Portland Fire & Rescue said the man had been stuck for about 12 hours in the muddy water in the northern part of the city near the Washington state line. They launched a rope and ladder operation and freed the man after about an hour, authorities said. He was then taken to a local hospital to be evaluated.
“The patient provided a fake name, however an observant hospital employee noticed he resembled Christopher Pray,” the release from police said. “Hospital staff notified the Portland Police Bureau, who responded and confirmed his identity.”
The hospital in Portland is nearly an hour north from the facility Pray escaped from on Wednesday. Data from the National Weather Service shows temperatures in the area dipped down to 60 degrees Thursday evening into Friday as officials say he was stuck in the muddy water.
Pray’s escape is still under investigation and the OSP plan to release more details next week.
Authorities said he managed to escape custody while fully restrained and fled the facility in a Dodge minivan.
Law enforcement was notified Pray escaped Wednesday night at 10:45 p.m. local time, according to a news release from OSP.
“At the time of his escape, he was fully restrained with leg shackles, a belly chain, handcuffs, and a restraint connecting all three together,” police said. “He was wearing a white t-shirt, maroon sweatpants, and black rubber slippers.”
Pray, who is considered to be extremely dangerous, was in custody at the Multnomah County jail on several serious charges, including attempted aggravated murder, and had been transferred to the hospital on Wednesday.
Pray is believed to have escaped after stealing a white 2016 Dodge Caravan and eluded capture after a police chase, authorities said. Police said he “eluded law enforcement southbound on Interstate 5. Law enforcement terminated the pursuit due to safety concerns and Pray was not apprehended.”
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