Search for Ralph Brown continues
The search for Cornelius' Ralph Brown continues.
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 as of Monday evening, May 24.
"The law enforcement officers have been awesome," Brown's daughter Laurie Saunders said Monday. "We're hanging in there and staying cautiously optimistic, but the police, detectives, deputies and all the volunteers have all been very gracious. We're very appreciative of that."
Last Wednesday, May 19, the Washington County Sheriff's Office encouraged Newberg-area residents to be on the lookout for Brown after a community member reported seeing what they believed to be Brown's car.
Rumors flew on social media pages Sunday, May 23, over another possible sighting at a homeless camp in Newberg, and the Washington County Sheriff's Office told the News-Times that another unsubstantiated sighting was reported that day in Longview, Washington.
Saunders said the family has also heard reports from people who thought they might have seen Brown or his vehicle at Silver Falls State Park near Salem and at a Chevron station in Molalla.
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 yesterday," 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.
As part of the search, Saunders said the Oregon Department of Transportation has posted messages on highway reader boards, law enforcement has used drones to scout for Brown or his car, volunteer pilots have taken to the air to scan from above, and first responders have patrolled the Willamette River.
Friends, former colleagues, family and other volunteers have spread flyers and searched throughout the area.
Saunders hopes to soon get some concrete evidence as to Brown's whereabouts so that local authorities can engage their search and rescue units.
Meanwhile, Saunders said the family is taking it day by day.
"It's tough and it definitely comes in waves between frustration and hope," she said. "We've definitely run the gamut."
Brown is about 5-foot-10 and 210 pounds, with gray hair and blue eyes. He is missing the tip of the index finger on his right hand.
If you have any information regarding Brown's whereabouts, contact the Washington County Sheriff's Office at 503-629-0111.
Mark Miller contributed to this report.
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