A three day search for missing hunter Jonathan Ryan Hill ended tragically on Sept. 23 a friend of the family who had joined the search discovered Hill’s body just after 5 p.m., more than a mile from where his truck had been located on Sept. 21.
Although Columbia 9-1-1 dispatch received a call from the man who said that he had found Hill and that he believed Hill was deceased at 5:13 p.m. on Sept. 23, officials delayed public notification until family members were notified and a positive identification was made.
After the 9-1-1 call, deputies from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office went to the location near Clear Creek Road and were met by the family friend at the intersection of Timber and Clear Creek Roads. He then led the deputies to Hill.
“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Mr. Hill,” Moyer said. “We are glad he was found, although we are saddened by the fact that he was not found alive.”
In addition to Columbia County searchers, many organizations stepped in to look for Jonathan Ryan Hill, including Metro West Ambulance (providing standby medical presence at the command post), Mountain Wave Search and Rescue (providing communications and additional search personnel), Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue, Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office, the Oregon State Police and the National Guard.
During the more than 50-hours of searching, the human searchers were aided by search and rescue canines from the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office, as well as air support from the National Guard.
Hill was prepared for a day-long hunting trip
Hill went bow hunting on Sept. 20 and did not return as expected that night. Family members told law enforcement that he had been prepared for a day-long trip and had food for that day, but they were unsure about his preparation for a longer trip. Although he did not return on time, Hill did make contact with his family members on Sept. 21, at 7 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. It was after that last telephone call that family members began to suspect something was seriously wrong. They told law enforcement personnel that he sounded disoriented during that phone call.
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. His body was found more than a mile away from where his truck had been discovered, according to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office news release.
At a media briefing on Sept. 21, Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said that they had lost contact with Hill after the 9:30 a.m. call and weren’t sure why that was. Efforts to call and ping the man’s cell phone had continued, but were not effective.