Missing subject’s body located
BRIGHTON — A search of the wooded Lake Darling area this morning ended tragically when searchers found the body of the person Washington County Sheriff Jerry Dunbar said was the object of their search.
Dunbar said that the subject had been identified and declared deceased. The identity of the subject is being withheld pending notification of the next of kin. He said that the body has been removed and an autopsy will be performed.
“There doesn’t appear to be any foul play, but we are still going to continue the investigation as a homicide until the results of the autopsy come back,” Dunbar said.
He said the body was found in the timber area of the park. He also said that he couldn’t release information on possible causes of death until after the autopsy has been performed.
The discovery of the body ends the search over the last two days for the subject after Lake Darling park rangers discovered his vehicle.
As a cloudy morning broke over Lake Darling State Park, a line of Brighton firefighters, Washington County Sheriff’s deputies and other emergency personnel lined up on the road leading into the wooded areas.
The group of about 20 deputies and 20 volunteer firefighters had been called out to help search for a subject that park rangers believed was somewhere in the park. According to Washington County Sheriff Jerry Dunbar, rangers had located a vehicle in the park Thursday evening that contained a note from the owner. The note gave law enforcement concern for the subject’s safety. Rangers searched the area, but due to the rainy weather and the declining daylight, the search was called off until this morning.
“The subject hasn’t been at work and hasn’t been home since Tuesday,” Dunbar said. “We checked with his family and they said they hadn’t seen him since Tuesday.”
Dunbar said the car was located in the campground area on the east side of the 1,400-acre park. Volunteers included people from the Brighton Fire Department, the Department of Natural Resources and the Washington County Sheriff’s office and reserves. Brett Sorrells, the K9 officer from the City of Washington Police Department, also responded. A Washington County Ambulance also stood by in case one of the volunteers was injured during the search.
Dunbar complimented the Brighton Fire Department, saying many of the volunteers had missed work to come and help the search.