The cabin where Randy Weaver watched his wife die from an FBI sniper’s bullet, and the 20 acres on Ruby Ridge where he held federal agents at bay for 11 days, has a new owner.
“I pretty much did it as a favor, but Randy always has the option of buying it back,” said Steve Schmidt, 29. “I don’t have any real plans for it right now except to keep it from falling down.”
Schmidt is a lifelong friend of Kevin Harris, the man who endured the standoff with Weaver and was wounded in the gunfight with federal agents.
Schmidt said he grew up with Harris in Nine Mile Falls, Wash., and they were backdoor buddies for 18 years.
“I’m not sure why Randy wanted to sell it, you would have to ask him,” Schmidt said. “But Kevin (Harris) told me about it and it sounded like a good deal. It’s a nice spot.”
The Ruby Ridge property, valued by Boundary County at $21,500, has vast mountain views, a spring and cabin Weaver built out of mill ends. Schmidt, a dump truck driver, has made several overnight trips to the cabin since he bought it and has neighbors watch it when he’s not there.
Weaver put word out in January that he wanted to sell his mountaintop home in Boundary County. The deal was finalized in March when a friend from Nine Mile Falls bought the land for an undisclosed price.
Schmidt worries about trespassers and the curious who want to see the now infamous ridge and steal souvenirs. He said he doesn’t want it to become a tourist attraction.
“We don’t want people going up there, but there are some signs people have been there,” he said.
Several outbuilding doors he nailed shut have been pried open.
Boundary County Sheriff Greg Sprungl has been the only one allowed onto the property, Schmidt said.
The sheriff and Prosecutor Randy Day still are investigating the 1992 standoff that left three people dead.
U.S. Marshal William Degan was killed in the initial gunfight along with Weaver’s son, Sam. Weaver’s wife, Vicki, was shot by a sniper while standing in the doorway of the cabin.
“The sheriff basically wanted to know what our plans for the property were. He didn’t want us tearing anything down until the investigation is done,” Schmidt said. “That’s fine with me. I’m just trying to stay neutral in this whole thing.”
Sprungl said he’s received no recent complaints about trespassers at Ruby Ridge. Much of the property now is overgrown, and the road leading to it is difficult to find, he said.
“If I could find work in Bonners Ferry I wouldn’t mind moving up there, but it needs a lot of work,” Schmidt said. “Right now it’s just something to hold on to.”
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