FBI finishes two-week search of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge - KPTV - FOX 12

FBI finishes two-week search of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

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Occupation at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (file image) Occupation at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (file image)
BURNS, OR (KPTV) -

FBI investigators have finished their investigation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and have turned it over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service.

The refuge was the site of the 41-day standoff between local, state and federal officials and armed occupiers led by Ammon Bundy, who is currently in federal custody in the Multnomah County Jail.

The FBI noted that the facility is not yet ready to be open to the public, and will remain closed until the Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Attorney's office decides to reopen the area.

During the two-week investigation of the facility, FBI crews conducted searches to make sure no occupiers remained on the property and to find and dispose of any bombs or  hazards left behind. They also had evidence teams review the areas where the occupiers were located, examine the computers and other electronic devices used by the occupiers and identify and document any damage to artifacts tied to the Burns Paiute Tribe. 

While the crews have left the facility, the FBI said the many forensic tests on materials collected will likely take months to complete.

Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon Greg Bretzing said that he hoped the step helps to begin to bring closure to local residents about the standoff.

"We know the impacts from the armed occupation of the refuge will live on in this community for some time. Today, though, we are able to bring some sense of closure to this chapter of the story," he said. "I have come to know the people of Harney County quite well over the past few months. I have experienced the love that you have for your home -- the people, the land and the way of life that makes Harney County special. On behalf of the men and women of the FBI, I want to thank you for sharing your community with us and your patience as we have done the work that we needed to do."

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