A Fort Washakie man arrested after a police officer shot him during a family brawl two years ago now is charged with a jailbreak for allegedly hiding out on the Wind River Indian Reservation when he was supposed to report to a Casper treatment home.
Wolfe Jon Taylor Willow, 38, could face up to five more years in prison and $250,000 in fines if convicted of escape from custody, a charge federal authorities filed against him Jan. 19 in the U.S. District Court for Wyoming.
‘Her Cousins Showed Up’
Willow was shot by a Bureau of Indian Affairs Officer in March 2022, after Willow got into a fight with his girlfriend’s family on the reservation, and Willow reportedly threatened the officer with a large knife.
Willow told Cowboy State Daily at the time — from his hospital bed in Riverton — that his girlfriend’s family didn’t like him because he’s a sex offender.
He'd been sentenced to three years of federal incarceration in 2011 on an abusive sexual contact conviction, after trying to have non-consensual sex with a sleeping female who woke and was able to escape his attempts to get her pants down.
The day he was shot in 2022, Willow and others had been drinking since noon at his girlfriend's family's house, when “her cousins showed up." He got into a knife fight with them, Willow said at the time.
The BIA agent who shot him was found not criminally culpable in the shooting. Willow wasn't charged in the knife fight either, but he was soon charged (for a second time) with failure to register as a sex offender.
Didn’t Register – Twice
He'd been convicted earlier for failure to register as a sex offender on Jan. 27, 2015, and sentenced to 16 months’ federal incarceration.
After his 2022 arrest, Willow was convicted on that charge again on Oct. 18, 2022, and sentenced to 24 months of federal incarceration. Authorities sent him to the Federal Correctional Institute of Victorville, California, where he remained until Jan. 16, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed in Willow’s new escape case.
“Part of Willow’s sentence was placement in the Casper Re-Entry Center,” says the affidavit, noting that the Casper facility has a contract with the federal Bureau of Prisons for inmates to fill their sentences there.
And the authorities tried to put Willow on an airplane from Victorville to Mills, Wyoming, “with means and directions” to take himself to the re-entry center.
He was supposed to arrive at the Casper Re-Entry Center at 7 p.m. Jan. 16, but he neither arrived nor called the facility with an update, says the affidavit.
Willow’s flight had been delayed until 9, investigators found, but he didn’t arrive then either.
“Attempts to contact Willow’s mother and sister have had no response,” says the affidavit. “Willow is at large and his whereabouts are unknown.”
But They Found Him
But police found Willow in Fort Washakie, Wyoming, on the reservation.
On Jan. 28, Deputy U.S. Marshal Nicholas A. Grundey signed off on a 9-day-old warrant commanding him to bring Willow to court.
In a Feb. 2 order, a federal magistrate judge ordered Willow to stay in jail pending trial at the prosecutor’s request.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.