Edgar Omar Rodriguez was arrested Aug. 25 after a week in hiding.
After living off of orchard fruit and hiding out in rugged forest lands since he allegedly stabbed his employer on Aug. 18, suspect Edgar Omar Rodriguez-Garibo, 38, was taken into custody following a nighttime sheriff’s department stake-out on Aug. 25.
According to Det. Matt English, public information officer for the Hood River County Sheriff’s Department, Rodriguez-Garibo was arrested without incident at a home on Allen Drive in Parkdale around 9 p.m.
On Aug. 18, just after 1:30 p.m., Rodriguez-Garibo allegedly attacked orchard owner Theresa Draper with a knife. The suspect had worked at Draper farms for the last six years.
Deputies began the search for Rodriguez-Garibo after responding to the incident at Draper Girls Country Farm at 6200 Highway 35. Draper was treated for injuries received in the attack at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital that day, and was later released.
Deputies then received information during the week after the attack, indicating that Rodriguez was still in the area. Using that information and a tip on the suspect’s plans to travel to the Parkdale residence, deputies set up a capture operation.
While deputies waited inside the residence, Rodriguez-Garibo arrived on foot and entered the home. Deputies immediately took him into custody. The suspect did not resist arrest.
“He had been living in the woods, eating orchard fruit. He was short on resources and it was starting to get cold,” said English, who summarized why Rodriguez-Garibo risked contact with the homeowners at the Allen Road residence.
The suspect was arrested wearing pants, a sweatshirt and a jacket, according to English. His other belongings had been left behind at his residence on the Draper Girls Country Farm property when he fled on foot after the stabbing incident. Nighttime temperatures were hovering in the low 50s in the week following the attack.
“There is so much uninhabited area there. It was a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack,” said English, who lead the successful arrest operation. “He had the advantage of working in the upper valley for 20 years. He knew the lay of the land.”
According to English, the suspect had been holed-up in areas along Woodworth Drive, Cooper Spur Road and along the banks of the Hood River.
“We had searched the area several times. It is really heavy brush and quite rugged around there,” English said.
Following his arrest, Rodriguez-Garibo was lodged on a $250,000 bond at NORCOR on charges of attempted assault I, assault II and sex abuse I. He is also listed as an U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement fugitive.
Rodriguez-Garibo was then arraigned via video-feed from NORCOR on Aug. 27. T. Connor Sullivan provided representation to the suspect.
Deputy District Attorney Carrie Rasmussen, noting the severity of the attack, asked for an increase in bond to $500,000 with a $50,000 bail. Circuit Court Judge John Wolff agreed to the request. Rodriguez-Garibo is scheduled for his next court appearance on Sept. 4 at 11 a.m. and remains lodged at NORCOR.
Sheriff’s department officers involved in the stakeout included Sheriff Joe Wampler and deputies Travis Paulsen, Ricardo Castaneda, Rick Princehouse, Mike Anderson, Joel Carmody and English.
The HRCSO team was assisted by a Skamania County Sheriff’s K9-unit and his handler, Russ Hastings, and Oregon State Police Trooper Zach Bohince.
Draper confirmed in an earlier phone call that she was recovering from the incident. She declined further comment.
For individuals with additional information on the case, call English at HRCSO, 541-386-2711.