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Unidentified skeleton found by logger in north county

Natalie St. John

Published on February 1, 2017 6:30PM

Last changed on February 2, 2017 9:22AM

RAYMOND — A logger found a body while working north of Raymond on Jan. 31.

The man was thinning trees at a logging site in the Smith Creek area on Tuesday evening, when he discovered the skeletal remains of an adult male on the forest floor, Sheriff Scott Johnson said on Feb. 1. The logger told deputies it was the third body he had discovered over the course of his logging career.

According to Johnson, the remains were scattered across a small area, but appeared to be relatively complete. Some of the man’s clothing was still intact.

Pacific County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have a positive ID on the man yet, Johnson said, but deputies are actively investigating, and hope to have more information soon.

Deputies worked well into Tuesday evening, and then returned on Wednesday morning to continue searching and documenting the site, Johnson said. They wrapped up the scene investigation just before noon on Feb. 1.

PCSO treated the site like a crime scene as a matter of protocol, Johnson said, but it is too soon to say what caused the man’s death.

According to Johnson, deputies will see if they can use dental records to identify the man. They also plan to contact the families of people who have gone missing from the area, to see if any of them recognize the man’s clothing.

Public records, media accounts and missing persons databases indicate that there are about eight unresolved missing persons cases involving Pacific County residents.

  • • Archer Ray Johnson, 42, was cutting wood with his brother in the Brooklyn area when he disappeared on April 1, 1986. He left to go home, and about ten minutes later, his brother discovered his truck parked on the side of a logging road, with the door open and the keys in the ignition.

  • •Michael Dewayne Hissom, 29, of San Diego, was last seen near Ilwaco early on the morning of Aug. 4, 1994.

  • • Loukthayoth “Luke” Yoshi Phiangdae, 11, was last seen near his home in Raymond on Feb. 6, 1996.

  • • Raymond Lee Matlock, 28, was last seen in Raymond on Nov. 7, 1998. He vanished after telling friends he planned to go hunting in the Bone River area.

  • • Michael Allen Jarvi, 28, of Naselle, was last seen on March 23, 2002. He planned to meet a family member in Astoria on March 22, but never arrived. He was reportedly last seen in Portland, Ore., on March 23, and his vehicle was discovered in Sutherlin, Ore., the following day. He left all of his belongings at his home when he disappeared.

  • • John Curtis Adkins, 53, of Oregon, was last seen in the Port of Ilwaco on July 5, 2009.

  • • Killian Paul Tsogo, 18, of Raymond, disappeared on or around May 22, 2012. He was last seen on May 22, when a friend dropped him off on Smith Creek Road, near Raymond.

  • • Traci Christine Wirkkala, 41, of Naselle, was last seen on Aug. 16, 2012. Her car was later found abandoned on the Megler Bridge with her purse and dog inside.

Of all of these, Tsogo seems to fit the circumstances best, but there is no proof of a match yet. Johnson acknowledged that the body discovered on Tuesday evening “was in the same vicinity” where Raymond Police and PCSO personnel searched unsuccessfully for Tsogo after his father reported him missing on May 29, 2012. However, Johnson said, it’s also possible that the body is that of another missing local, a missing person from outside the area, or a person who was never reported missing at all.

“At this point we’re not sure if it’s connected to our missing persons case,” Raymond Police Chief Chuck Spoor said on Feb. 1, when asked if he thought it could be Tsogo. “We’re looking all possibilities.”

This is a developing story. The Chinook Observer will update the story if and when new information becomes available.


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