Nearly a year after the former mayor of Cornelius, Oregon went missing, authorities say the man’s car was found at the bottom of a river with human remains inside.
The vehicle belonging to Ralph Brown, 77, was found by a team of divers 40 feet below the surface of the Willamette River in Newberg on Friday, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. The human remains in the car have not yet been identified.
Brown was last seen leaving his home of Cornelius in a blue Nissan Sentra on May 16, 2021. His cellphone records showed he drove in circles for four hours within a 30-mile radius of his home before to disappear, KOIN-TV reported.
One of Brown’s adult children was able to reach him on the phone the night he disappeared, but said he looked confused and was unable to describe his whereabouts. Brown was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a year before her disappearance.
Law enforcement and more than 200 volunteers searched for Brown, who is a former Hillsboro school district teacher and principal and served as mayor of Cornelius in the early 1980s, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
Brown’s car was found on Friday by Adventures With Purpose, a group of divers who travel the country, volunteering to solve underwater mysteries and missing persons cases. The team had searched the area for the car 10 times over the past year.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office says the investigation is ongoing.