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NY Post
New York Post
2 Sep 2023

NextImg:Attempted murder suspect who escaped mental hospital in shackles found buried in mud

An attempted murder suspect who escaped from an Oregon mental hospital in shackles was found buried in mud up to his armpits — and nearly absconded again by giving a fake name before a hospital staffer recognized him, police said.

Christopher Pray had been on the lam for two days by the time Portland authorities responded to a call of a possibly deceased person in a pond at 8:17 a.m. Friday.

When rescue crews arrived, they began talking to the man in the mud and told authorities police officers weren’t needed, officials said. 

“The patient was stuck in the mud, approximately 75 feet from firm ground, and was buried up to their armpits,” Oregon State Police said in a news release. “The rescue required a rope and ladder in order to remove the patient.”

It took about an hour to get the man — who still hadn’t been recognized as Pray, 39 — out of the mud, before he was taken to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center for an evaluation.

“The patient provided a fake name, however an observant hospital employee noticed he resembled Christopher Pray,” authorities said. “Hospital staff notified the Portland Police Bureau, who responded and confirmed his identity.” 

Inmate Christopher Pray escaped from a mental hospital Wednesday and was captured Friday.
Oregon State Police

rescuers pull the man from the mud
Portland Fire & Rescue and the Portland Police Bureau were dispatched to a report of a potentially deceased person, in a pond, at North Force Avenue and North Victory Boulevard, in Portland, officials said.
Portland Fire & Rescue

Pray was arrested and taken back into custody. Cops are investigating how he was able to escape. It’s not clear how he got his shackles off.

“We want to thank the vigilant medical personnel who recognized Pray and alerted the authorities,” state police said.

Pray was being driven by medical staff to the Oregon State Hospital in Salem when he took control of the vehicle and sped off at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, officials have said.

rescuer using a rope to get the man from the mud
The rescue required a rope and ladder in order to remove the patient.  The rescue took approximately 1 hour to complete, Oregon state police said.
Portland Fire & Rescue

He then led troopers on an extended high-speed car chase on Interstate 5 southbound, but police ultimately stopped the pursuit out of safety concerns, the local newspaper reported.

“Pray is considered extremely dangerous and should not be approached,” Oregon State Police said in a statement at that time, asking anyone who saw him to immediately dial 911.

Pray faces charges of first-degree robbery, attempted aggravated murder, assault and felon in possession of a firearm in connection to an armed robbery and shooting in which he is accused of nearly killing a woman in Multnomah County, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.