Northwest NEWS

February 28, 2000

Front Page

Honor Farm escapee captured in Duvall

by Lisa Allen, Valley View editor

   DUVALL--A Monroe Reformatory inmate working at the Honor Farm escaped from the facility on February 18, but was arrested shortly afterwards by Duvall police.

   Kenneth James Bliss, 28, was serving a sentence for burglary and robbery, according to Department of Corrections spokesperson Leslie Ryder.

   Ryder said Bliss, formerly of Seattle, had only been gone from the farm about an hour before he was captured in Duvall. "He was working at the Honor Farm dairy, when he jumped into a grain truck that was being unloaded," said Ryder. "He drove it about 400 yards into a ditch, then jumped out and fled into the woods."

   Ryder said Bliss then managed to make his way to the highway, where he was picked up by a passer-by "He was seen getting into a car," Ryder said.

   After being driven to Duvall, the man then attempted to bum some cash from customers leaving a grocery store at the north end of town, said Duvall Police Sgt. Bob Akey.

   "He was wearing jeans and a blue denim jacket with large white numbers on the back and mismatched boots," said Akey. "He told people he needed money to use the phone."

   Akey said that when officers Gene Sanders and Chad Dougherty responded to a call about the man, they saw him duck down inside the phone booth. "When the officers asked the man where he was from, he answered 'it's obvious, isn't it,'" said Akey.

   The officers placed Bliss into custody, and within moments, Snohomish County deputies and officials from the Department of Corrections, who had been pursuing the inmate, were on the scene, Akey said.

   Ryder said Bliss had been scheduled for release in September of 2002. "But now he will be prosecuted for escape, which is a felony, besides losing good conduct credits." Ryder said. "He will be with us for a considerably longer time."

   Ryder said the inmate housing at the facility was done away with because of the threat of winter flooding at the site. "Low-risk inmates are still employed by the DOC at the dairy," he said. "But they are bussed to the facility."

   The Department of Corrections maintains a herd of 700 dairy cattle and a creamery there.

Two more prisoners escape

   MONROE--Two more inmates walked away from the Reformatory Honor Farm just before noon last Thursday, but were captured by Kent police and an escape team from the prison around 2:15 p.m. Saturday at a friend's apartment in Kent.

   Cleveland Natola III, 19, was serving a sentence for armed robbery, and Jason D. Ridenour, 23, was doing time for assault and escape.

   The pair stole a 1989 pickup truck in Monroe that was reported missing in the area shortly after the escape. After spotting the truck at the apartment complex, five Kent police officers surrounded the apartment, after disabling the truck, and waited for the suspects to come out. Natola surrendered without a fight. Ridenour took off running, but was soon caught by Kent police.