Washington Co. Sheriff's Office
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News Release
Update: Body Positively Identified as Missing Person - 05/17/22

On Friday, May 13, 2022, the vehicle of the missing person, 77-year-old Ralph Brown, was located in the Willamette River, near Roger’s Landing Boat Ramp in Yamhill County.

Investigators found human remains in the vehicle after removing it from the river. A Yamhill County Deputy Medical Examiner was at the scene to conduct their investigation but could not immediately identify the remains.

Today, May 17, 2022, a Deputy State Medical Examiner confirmed the remains located in the vehicle were Ralph Brown. Investigators say there were no signs of foul play.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank everyone who helped in the efforts to search for Ralph Brown, including Adventures With Purpose, Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Newberg Police Department, Seaside Police Department, Molalla Police Department, Oregon State Police, Oregon Office of Emergency Management Search and Rescue, Oregon State Park Rangers, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue, Civil Air Patrol, volunteer community members, and many others.

Original Release: Vehicle of Missing Person, Ralph Brown, Located in the Willamette River 

On the afternoon of Friday, May 13, 2022, Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies learned the vehicle belonging to 77-year-old Ralph Brown, who was reported missing on May 16, 2021, was located in the Willamette River, near Roger’s Landing Boat Ramp. The vehicle was fully submerged and approximately 40 feet deep when a private company, Adventures With Purpose, located it.

Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office patrol deputies, detectives from their Special Investigation Unit (SIU), and Marine Patrol responded to the boat ramp after Adventures With Purpose notified them that they believed they had located the vehicle. Yamhill County deputies said Adventures With Purpose provided a license plate they pulled off the submerged car. A Yamhill County deputy confirmed the license plate belonged to Ralph Brown’s vehicle he was believed to have been driving when he went missing.

Yamhill County deputies and Adventure With Purpose worked through the evening to remove the vehicle from the Willamette River. Once removed, investigators found human remains in the vehicle. The Yamhill County Medical Examiner was there to investigate but could not immediately identify the remains.

Detectives from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Violent Crimes Unit at the boat ramp to assist with the investigation. 

The investigation is ongoing, and as additional information becomes available, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office will make them available.

Members of the Violent Crimes Unit are called upon to investigate serious violent crimes such as homicides, suspicious deaths, adult sexual assaults, kidnappings, robberies, extortion, serious assaults, elder abuse, and missing persons.

View more news releases from Washington Co. Sheriff's Office.