Body found in Columbia River identified as Clark County work release escapee

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian Breaking News Reporter and Patty Hastings, Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith

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A body found in the Columbia River on Sunday morning has been identified as a Vancouver man who escaped from Clark County Sheriff’s Office work release.

The Coast Guard found the body of Drake Edward Johnson, 27, floating in North Portland Harbor just before 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

He had escaped from work release Wednesday.

According to court documents, Johnson’s most recent felony case was related to drug charges. In July 2011, he was sentenced to 20 months in prison and 12 months of community custody for possessing heroin with the intent to deliver, conspiring to deliver heroin and delivering heroin.

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office river patrol deputies are investigating his death.

Johnson’s was the second body found in the river this month. On Thursday evening, crews aboard a Tidewater tug spotted the body of another adult man near the Interstate 5 Bridge about 5:45 p.m.

The deceased man has not been identified. It’s not known whether the body is that of a man beachcombers saw swimming in the river on Friday, July 12. A woman and her granddaughter were on the beach at Vancouver’s Wintler Park, upstream of the I-5 Bridge, when they saw an adult man enter the water, swim far out into the channel, and then disappear. That swimmer was not found.