Police identify deceased man found in Ochoco Creek
An investigation conducted over the course of several days by the Prineville Police Department determined that no criminal acts or signs of struggles contributed to the death of a local man who was found face down in Ochoco Creek Friday evening.
Authorities identified the deceased man as 64-year-old Brian Lee Colbert. He was found under a bridge at St. Charles Way, just east of Combs Flat Road, at about 5:50 p.m. When officers pulled him from the creek, they determined he was deceased and beyond the point that lifesaving efforts would help him.
Police noted that the bridge is one of the areas visited by the local homeless community, and that Colbert was part of that homeless community. He had a history of mental illness and abuse of drugs and alcohol, police added, and on more than one occasion, authorities had pulled Colbert from the water during times of suspected drug use.
A preliminary investigation by Prineville police did not find any evidence of robbery -- Colbert was in possession of $90 -- foul play or signs of a struggle.
A deputy medical examiner and a representative from the Crook County District Attorney's Office responded to the scene. On Monday, an autopsy was performed at the State Medical Examiner's Office in Salem. The state medical examiner will determine the official cause of death, police said, but evidence at this time supports initial observations.
The death investigation is still ongoing and until lab results return and the final report is completed from the State Medical Examiner's Office, it will remain open.
Police apologized that it took several days to release information about the death, but explained that they had difficulty locating family for notifications.
"Our condolences go out to the Colbert family and those who knew him," said Sgt. Shane Wilson. "Prineville police would like to thank the Crook County Sheriff's Office, Crook County Fire and Rescue and the Crook County District Attorney's Office for their help with this investigation."
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact Det. Kathryn Bottoms of the Prineville Police Department.
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