The search for a 37-year-old Hillsboro resident, has stretched into a second day and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office has corrected information given at a Sept. 21 media briefing.
Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson now says that Jonathan Ryan Hill was not hiking as originally believed, but was out for a day-long bow hunting trip. Jonathan Ryan Hill was originally believed to be hiking in the area of Timber Road, southwest of Vernonia, on Sept. 20, but did not return home as expected that night. He did contact family members via cell phone that night and twice the next morning. There has been no contact since 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 21, when family members told the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office that Hill sounded disoriented.
The search began just after 12 p.m. on Sept. 21, with more than a dozen members of the Columbia County Search and Rescue team and a handful of county deputies, in the area of Timber Road, southwest of Vernonia. In the hours that followed, authorities found Hill’s truck in the area of North Wolf Creek Road and the search moved to the location off of Highway 26.
At a media briefing on Sept. 21, Dickerson said that they had lost contact with Hill after the 9:30 a.m. call and weren’t sure why that was. The cell phone coverage in the area is spotty, but Dickerson had been in contact with the command post near North Wolf Creek Road. Efforts to call and ping the man’s cell phone have continued, but apparently have been ineffective. During the media briefing, Dickerson said he had not been out at the search area and as a result, could not comment on what the terrain was like where the man was bow hunting.
“We’ve lost contact with him and we don’t know why,” Dickerson said. “We’re not sure if he was prepared for an overnight event.” Overnight temperatures were mild, and Dickerson told assembled media that he didn’t believe that the weather conditions were going to be an issue, although with the man’s disappearance entering a second night, police and family members have other concerns for the man’s health and safety.
Hill was prepared for a day trip, with food for Sept. 20, but as the search enters a second day and his hunting trip extends to a third day, concern increases. Dickerson said on Sept. 21 that they were concerned about issues that were related to the extended hunting trip that they might not be aware of, without being able to contact Hill.
Since Sunday, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office has joined the search; the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office sent two canines trained in search and rescue and the National Guard provided air support during the evening hours. Columbia County personnel remained at the command post overnight and efforts have returned to full search mode.
Foul play is not suspected in Hill’s disappearance; Dickerson said that there was no sense that the man was despondent either.
Searching will begin again around 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 23.
This is a continuing story. The Columbia County Buzz Examiner will continue to update as information becomes available.