PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland police have confirmed the identity of the body inside a vehicle submerged in the Columbia River at the base of the Glenn Jackson Bridge.
On Thursday, Portland Police Bureau’s Major Crash Investigation Team confirmed 57-year-old Antonio Amaro-Lopez of Portland was the deceased driver found on Wednesday evening. His family has been notified and plans are underway to recover the car from the water.
The identification comes several days after a car reportedly went off the Glenn Jackson Bridge during a wicked winter storm. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
The family of Amaro-Lopez had already believed he may have been the driver in a Subaru Tribeca that slid off the bridge into the Columbia River Sunday evening. His family held a candlelight vigil on the beach near the bridge for the second night in a row on Wednesday.
The break in the search came Wednesday afternoon by a private search crew that travels the country solving underwater mysteries.
“We found the car for the sheriff and we’re waiting for the sheriff to be able to pinpoint the location on their own, as well,” Jared Leisek of Adventures with Purpose said on Wednesday. He traveled from Bend to search the waters around the bridge.
The private crew began looking for the missing father and his car at 9 a.m., 3 days after he disappeared driving from work in Vancouver to Portland in treacherous, snowy conditions.
On their sonar is a square image at the bottom of the Columbia River.
“Reading sonar is an art,” he said. “If you don’t read sonar everyday you can miss things.”
Leisek said the crew did two passes and found the car practically underneath the bridge. The car was upside down in the river.
Family was immediately worried
Amaro-Lopez texted his family at around 5 p.m. Sunday to let them know he was on his way home from work.
Amaro-Lopez, who works at his family’s restaurant Amaro’s Table in Hazel Dell, regularly communicates with his family when he leaves work, and always lets them know when he’s going to be late, his daughter, Abi Amaro said.
But this time, he didn’t come home, she said.
“It turned to 7, 8, and (my mom) texted him again, ‘I’m worried, where are you?’ And no response,” Amaro said.
KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.