Courthouse surveillance video shows an Oregon murder suspect sprinting away from bailiffs after they unshackled him in court — a requirement under state law — then escaping the building and prompting a massive manhunt.
Edi Villalobos Jr., a 28-year-old accused of murder and a slew of other felonies, was supposed to stand before the court for the start of his trial. Instead, he ran down the hallway and out an employees-only exit, video shows.
“Per Oregon law, the deputies removed all restraints from Villalobos during the jury selection process,” the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “At around 11 a.m., the court took a break, and restraints were placed back on Villalobos. When the break ended, deputies again removed all restraints from Villalobos, as directed by Oregon Law.”
The incident happened on Feb. 28, but the sheriff’s office made the video public Thursday.
UPDATE – Washington County Sheriff’s Office Press Release
Media Release: Adult in Custody Captured after Fleeing Court Room
On Monday, February 27, 2023, deputies assigned to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Court Security Unit brought 28-year-old Edi Villalobos from the Washington County Jail to the Washington County courthouse for his scheduled trial. Two deputies were assigned to stay with Villalobos during the trial. Villalobos faced several charges, including murder in the second degree, unlawful use of a weapon, elude, two counts of burglary in the first degree, reckless driving, and reckless endangering.
Per Oregon law, the deputies removed all restraints from Villalobos during the jury selection process. At around 11 a.m., the court took a break, and restraints were placed back on Villalobos. When the break ended, deputies again removed all restraints from Villalobos, as directed by Oregon Law. Once the restraints were removed, Villalobos ran out of the courtroom and the courthouse. The deputies chased Villalobos and immediately relayed updates about his location.
Over the next two hours, multiple deputies and officers from the Hillsboro Police Department and the Forest Grove Police Department searched extensively for Villalobos in the downtown area of Hillsboro. Deputies utilized canines and drones during the search for Villalobos. A reverse 911 message was sent to nearby residents asking them to shelter in place.
During the search, deputies were contacted by a community member in the 300 block of SE 4th Avenue and learned that a person was trying to get into an apartment directly under the community member’s apartment. Deputies and officers contacted the owner of the apartment and were told no one should be inside.
Deputies entered the apartment and located Villalobos hiding in a closet underneath a blanket. Villalobos was taken into custody without incident and transferred back to the Washington County Jail.
This afternoon, a Washington County Grand Jury indicted Villalobos on two counts of burglary in the first degree and one count of escape in the second degree.
Villalobos’ trial, which was scheduled for this week, has been canceled and will be rescheduled later.