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Remains found in Willamette River identified as those of former Cornelius mayor

Those involved in search react to former Cornelius mayor's car being found
Those involved in search react to former Cornelius mayor's car being found
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 7:10 PM PDT
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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ore. (KPTV) - Remains found in a car in the Willamette River on Friday are confirmed to be those of missing former Cornelius mayor Ralph Brown, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said on Tuesday.

The sheriff’s office said the Oregon State Medical examiner confirmed the identity to be 77-year-old Brown. Investigators said there are no signs of foul play.

Divers from a private company located the submerged vehicle near Roger’s Landing Boat Ramp along the Willamette River on Friday. The company had been hired to search for any signs of the missing former mayor. Investigators found human remains in the car after removing it from the river.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office later confirmed the vehicle was a match for the dark blue Nissan Sentra that Brown had left his home in on the evening of May 16, 2021.

At the time of his disappearance, Brown’s children said the 77-year-old suffered from dementia and decided to leave his Cornelius home on his own. Months went by without any leads with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office saying in June 2021 there had been no confirmed sightings.

After months went by without any leads and several searches conducted, the family contacted “Adventures With Purpose,” a search and recovery dive team.

Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office responded with their Special Investigation Unit and Marine Patrol responded after Adventures With Purpose notified them 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 Brown’s vehicle he was believed to have been driving when he went missing.