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Peter Hughes, age 83, went missing from a campground on Ochoco National Forest last Thursday

PHOTO COURTESY OF WHEELER COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE - The body of a missing 83-year-old Portland man was found nearly two miles from his camp Tuesday afternoon.

A six-day search for a missing 83-year-old Portland man lost in Ochoco National Forest ended Tuesday when his body was found deceased.

The search for Peter Hughes began late last Thursday evening after he was initially reported missing to the Crook County Sheriff's Office. Crook County authorities had taken a report that Hughes had walked away from the campsite and not been seen for several hours.

According to Wheeler County Undersheriff Mitch Elliott, CCSO notified the Wheeler County Sheriff's Office around 9:30 p.m. that evening, explaining that their personnel had responded to the area of Cottonwood Campground in Ochoco National Forest. Once Wheeler County deputies were told about the search and rescue mission, they determined it was within Wheeler County and their units subsequently responded.

Upon arrival, around 10:30 p.m., Wheeler County deputies contacted the reporting party who said his friend walked away from the camping area and had not been seen since.

A search area was developed, and two Wheeler County deputies and six Crook County Search and Rescue members searched the area in the dark without locating Hughes. On Friday morning, four members of the Wheeler County Sheriff's Office, five members of the Wheeler County Sheriff's Search and Rescue team, one K9 search and rescue team for the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, one AirLink helicopter, and several community members continued to search the area of the campground without locating Hughes.

On Saturday, three members of the Wheeler County Sheriff's Office, one of which was on horseback, five members of the Wheeler County Sheriff's Search and Rescue team, three K9 search and rescue teams from the Crook County Sheriff's Office, three fixed wing airplanes from the Grant County area assisted by one member of the Grant County Sheriff's Office search and rescue team, two members of the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue, who provided assistance with mapping and logistics, and several community members continued to search the area of the campground. Again, they could not find Hughes.

Search efforts continued Sunday as personnel spent the day grid searching the area with the help of additional resources from outside the Wheeler County region. Help was solicited from around 20 ground team members and two posse members from the Linn County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue team as well as six members of the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue team.

Monday, the search effort included the many step drainages toward the north of Cottonwood Campground. Late morning, searchers located possible clues of a person in the area of Balm Creek, which drains into Rock Creek. All resources were allocated to that area, and searchers continued working down slope toward the Antone Ranch in the hopes of locating Hughes.

In addition, an AirLink helicopter was requested, and a search manager boarded the helicopter to assist the pilot. The helicopter flew the area for about an hour without finding Hughes. The terrain and late hours slowed search efforts, and managers pulled the searches from the forest for their safety.

The search continued Tuesday, and at around 3 p.m., the deceased body of Hughes was located about 1.9 miles from his campsite.


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