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Inmate foiled in attempted jail break

CAUGHT -- Convicted robber is spotted trying to climb drainpipe in county jail's recreation yard
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Washington County Jail officials are investigating how an inmate managed to get into a restricted area last week in an attempt to escape.

Jim Parmelee, 44, was injured when he fell while trying to climb an outside wall from an inmate recreation area, where he had been hiding. Deputies caught Parmelee before he was able to escape last Monday evening, June 20.

Parmelee was sentenced to 41 years in a Washington State correctional institution for robbery. He is in Washington County's custody while he faces multiple charges of robbery, unlawful use of a weapon, a felon in possession of a firearm and other charges from several robberies in the county.

Deputies said that at about 8:30 p.m. they were doing a routine head count while distributing medications and discovered that Parmelee was not where he was supposed to be at that time.

The jail, which was built in 1998, operates on a pod system, where up to 60 inmates are housed in a secure area. Within the secure area is a common eating and recreation section where all the inmates spend time outside their cells. The inmates are counted frequently throughout the day. They are also counted when medicine is distributed in the evening.

After deputies discovered that Parmelee was not in the common area, deputies locked down the area and checked Parmelee's cell. They found that he had stuffed his bed to make it appear that he was lying there.

Deputies found Parmelee in the outside recreation area, behind a secure door. The area has no roof. However, in order for Parmelee to get out of the jail he would have had to climb a 30-foot wall.

Parmelee had tried to climb a drainpipe to the top of the wall. He was unsuccessful and fell 10 to 15 feet, injuring himself.

Parmelee has been charged with first- and second-degree criminal mischief and second-degree escape.