PORTLAND — Authorities in Oregon say text messages found hours before the discovery of a missing college student’s body on a heavily-wooded hill were the first indication he planned to kill himself.
Johnathan Croom was found just 1,000 yards from the vehicle he abandoned near Riddle.
Douglas County sheriff’s spokesman Dwes Hutson said crews searching the area for days after Croom’s green SUV was found were looking for a live person. They called his name and made lots of noise, as they had since last week, but heard nothing back.
The discovery of the texts changed the nature of the search.
“That led us to believe that he was probably going to do this,” Hutson said. “In these kind of cases, sometimes people leave very detailed notes and instructions. Sometimes, you don’t.”
The Apache Junction, Ariz., college student was scheduled to drive home from Seattle and was due back Aug. 17.
Croom’s father said Monday night his son was grieving the end of a recent relationship.
“He was a young man who had a broken heart and headed out to try to find himself,” said David Croom, Johnathan’s father. “We’re looking forward to finding out exactly what happened.”
The teen had talked with his parents about the book “Into the Wild” and told a friend he wanted to run away.
Croom also talked to his parents about Christopher McCandless, whose journey to Alaska was documented in the book. McCandless gave up his worldly goods to live in the Alaska wilderness, only to die there, perhaps from eating wild potatoes.
Earlier this year, a 19-year-old from Oklahoma disappeared after talking to his parents about the same book and setting out to test himself against the Oregon wilderness.
Dustin Self’s truck was found in April on Steens Mountain in southeast Oregon. The last search for Self was in the spring, after snow melted, but it yielded no hints to his location.
Not old enough for a driver's license and without a bike of his own, young Ashton Eaton had to find another way to get around when he wanted to visit friends across town. So he ran. “I didn't have to, but I just wanted to get there faster, so I would take shortcuts on the side of Pilot Butte,” Eaton, who spent his teen years…
The 6-year-old boy would take the cleaning ends off the broom and the mop, then place the handles on the floor apart from each other. Then he would jump from one handle to the next, moving them farther and farther apart with each leap to see just how far he could fly. It was an early start in training for the long jump. “That was…
FRESNO, Calif. — Federal law now allows visitors to carry guns in national parks, but you can’t just slip a loaded pistol into your backpack and take a hike. Pay attention, because this is a little complicated. You will need a concealed weapons permit to carry the loaded gun in the backpack. But you don’t need any kind of permit if you just want to…
The holiest plant of the Christmas season may be a raggedy shrub with peeling bark that seems to grow best in a dusty backyard in Tempe, Ariz. This is Boswellia sacra, better known as the frankincense tree. The shrub’s gum resin is one of the three biblical gifts that the wise men bestowed on the infant Jesus. Until recently, Americans who wished to cultivate their…
The 2012 Olympic decathlon — the first for Bend's Ashton Eaton, if all goes according to form and plan — will not begin until August. But Eaton is experiencing the Olympics far from London with help from his coach, Harry Marra. At each meet this season, Marra has taken Eaton on his own to the pole vault pit and set the bar at a challenging…