<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=192888919167017&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Friday, June 9, 2023
June 9, 2023

Linkedin Pinterest

Search continues for former Cornelius mayor, missing since May 16


The search continues for 76-year-old Ralph Brown, a former mayor Cornelius, Ore., who has been missing since May 16.

Washington County Sheriff’s office said deputies still do not have any leads on what happened to Brown.

There have been a few sightings reported, but none were substantiated, said Daryle Brown, Ralph Brown’s son.

Brown left his home in Cornelius on May 16 just after returning from running errands with his wife of more than 50 years, Carol. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said in a release Friday that at this point, Brown could be anywhere.

“People in Washington County are mystified about his disappearance,” said Nancy Townsley, the former editor of the weekly newspaper in Forest Grove and a friend of Brown. “It’s almost like he’s disappeared into thin air.”

Brown is a former teacher and principal in the Hillsboro school district, a former school board member and was mayor of Cornelius in the early 1980s, his wife Carol said. He and Carol are an “amazing duo that gives so much to their community,” Townsley said.

Daryle Brown said his parents were in their home May 16 when Brown stood up and said he was going to his “other house.” Ralph has early onset Alzheimer’s symptoms, which leads to confusion. He no longer has a driver’s license and has not driven a car in more than a year, Daryle said.

He drove away from the home in the 600 block of South 12th Avenue in a 2014 dark blue Nissan Sentra. His family tried calling his cellphone dozens of times, but Brown only answered once, Daryle said. Brown told his daughter, Laurie, on the phone Sunday night: “I’m in the bushes at a golf course,” and asked, “Are people looking for me? You’re looking for me aren’t you?”

There have been no location pings on his phone, and no communication from Brown in the nearly three weeks since he’s been missing. There have also been no charges to his credit card, which Daryle said is especially odd because his father uses it frequently.

Daryle said the family believes his father could’ve gone to Astoria, where he grew up as a child.

“I think he was trying to find his way home but wasn’t finding a landmark that he recognized,” Daryle said. “Dad’s never known anyone who is not a friend; he knows people from all walks, and he talks a lot.”

Brown is about 5-foot-10 and weighs 210 pounds. He has gray hair and blue eyes, and his right-hand index finger is missing at the first knuckle. Daryle said his father was wearing a white shirt, black shorts, socks and Birkenstock sandals.

“His walk is very odd, he doesn’t lift his legs when he walks,” Daryle said. “He walks with his hips, and you can always hear him coming, hear the shuffle of his feet.”

Susan Fleskes, a former track and cross country coach at Forest Grove High School and a friend of Brown’s, had been coordinating a search for him spanning Washington County and to the coast.

More than 200 volunteers are still helping in the search, including former students, friends and even strangers.

“The response has been incredible,” Fleskes told the Oregonian/OregonLive on May 21.

Deputies, detectives and volunteers have searched on foot, in vehicles, via drones, by boats and air.

They have also checked area hospitals, airports, grocery stores and restaurants.

Fleskes was front-and-center Thursday morning at a press conference in Hillsboro, Daryle Brown said. Her search efforts have not lost momentum.

“She’s become family,” Daryl Brown said. “(My dad) has given so much, and I think the community knows that, and they’re giving it back.”

The 2014 Nissan Sentra has an Oregon Plate: 319KQV.

If you see the car in motion, call 911. If you see it stationary, stay there and call your local non-emergency line.

If you know of Brown’s whereabouts or have any tips, call non-emergency dispatch at 503-629-0111.