PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A body found inside a car in the Willamette River in Newberg on Friday, has been identified as 77-year-old Ralph Brown, the former mayor of Cornelius, Washington County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday.
While recovering the car on Friday, authorities said the car belonged to Brown, who had been reported missing for nearly a year. Investigators said there were no signs of foul play
Dive crew, Adventures with Purpose, found the car after searching 10 times in the past year, including three times near Roger’s Landing where they found the car on Friday.
Brown was last seen leaving his home in a Blue Nissan Sentra May 16, 2021. During last year’s search, Brown’s cell phone records indicated that he drove in circles for four hours within a 30-mile radius from home. Then, he disappeared.
A manhunt led by Washington County Sheriff’s Office never turned up Brown or his car.
Brown’s family said he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a year before he went missing. One of his adult children was able to reach him on the phone the night he went missing but said he sounded confused and was unable to describe where he was.
“I just can’t imagine in that moment what he was feeling at that moment coming in here and just what happened,” Brown’s granddaughter Megan Closson said.
While officials recovered the car, Closson added that she was thankful for closure.
“I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done, they never gave up on us,” Closson said. “He was a well-loved genuinely amazing man, and he is greatly missed for who he was and what he did for the community.