Ralph Brown's family and friends held a press conference Wednesday afternoon, May 26, at the Forest Grove United Church of Christ, to ask the public for their help in finding their father and friend.
The former Cornelius mayor, Forest Grove school board member, and Hillsboro teacher and administrator has been missing since the evening of May 16, when he reportedly left his home in Cornelius in his dark blue 2014 Nissan Sentra.
Reports of sightings have come in all over the region, but neither Brown nor his vehicle, with Oregon license plate 319KQV, have been located.
Cornelius Elementary School principal Angella Graves, along with Brown's son Daryle, daughter Laurie, and daughter-in-law Gretchen Brown, spoke before the media and a crowd of well-wishers outside of the downtown Forest Grove church in hopes of further spreading the word of Brown's plight.
The most credible reports of Brown's possible whereabouts have come in Yamhill County, where Brown's cellphone was reportedly "pinged" early last week and a community member reported seeing what they believed to be Brown's car at the intersection of Springbrook Road and Highway 99W.
Washington County sheriff's deputies asked anyone who lives near Rogers Landing County Park in Yamhill County or along the Willamette River to "check around" for Brown and his car in an update on the search last Wednesday, May 19.
More recently, other reports have placed Brown in Marion or Clackamas counties, although his family says a possible sighting at a Chevron station in Molalla this past Sunday, May 23, has already been debunked.
Volunteers have continued to actively search for Brown. Many supporters and well-wishes attended a prayer vigil Sunday outside Forest Grove United Church of Christ, where Brown and his wife, Carol, are longtime parishioners.
"My mother's getting a lot of visitors, and we're getting a lot of well-wishers, including at the vigil," Saunders said. "It was well-attended by people pretty much from every phase of my dad's life — friends from when he was a kid, all the way up to people from the church."
Brown is 76, and family members say he has been suffering from memory problems. He reportedly talked about going "home" before leaving his house on May 16, which those who know him believe may have been a reference to Astoria, where he grew up.
Brown is about 5-foot-10 and 210 pounds, with gray hair and blue eyes, and was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, dark shorts, white socks and sandals. He is missing the tip of the index finger on his right hand and has a very noticeable gait, shuffling his feet as he walks.
"You might hear him before you see him," his son Daryle said.
The family asked that if you see Brown, please notify the Washington County Sheriff's Office and then don't let him out of your sight. If he's driving, they ask that you call 9-1-1 and keep him in sight until the authorities can get to him.
"It's numbing," Daryle said when asked how the family was doing. "We're not really sure what to do."
If you have any information regarding Brown's whereabouts, contact the Washington County Sheriff's Office at 503-629-0111.
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