Ronald Allen Ohm, disappeared August 9th, 2012, Mount Jefferson Wilderness, Willamette National Forest, Oregon
Ronald Allen Ohm, 52, who was last seen near Russell Lake in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness on Thursday, August 9, 2012 whilst hiking with two friends. On a ridge above the lake he told them he would stay a while to take pictures while they set up camp down below.
The group had departed from the Breitenbush Lake campground trail head and planned to spend the weekend at Russell Lake, which is south-west of Portland.
But Ohm never showed up at camp that Thursday night. The friends looked for him Friday, then hiked out Friday evening and reported him missing.
Ron was an experienced hiker, familiar with the area, and was equipped with a blue and red backpack, tent, sleeping bag and provisions to last for several days. He suffered from a medical condition that required daily medications and he had taken four days supply of tablets with him.
In addition to Marion County Sheriff’s officials, searchers from Linn, Benton, Deschutes, Lane and Polk Counties, as well as Portland Mountain Rescue took part in the six-day search. Search crews are looked for Ohm on foot, on horses, on SUVs and on ATVs focusing in the area between Russell, Scout and Bays lakes. 200 searchers dedicated approximately 3,500 hours to search 300 square miles of the Willamette National Forest north of Mount Jefferson. Efforts were hampered by the smoke and the approaching "Waterfall 2" forest fire, which was moving west from Warm Springs.
The area around Russell Lake is heavily forested and has many ridges and valleys with some snow cover. Daytime temperatures occasionally reached 90 degrees. The elevation of the search area varied from 5,000 to 7,500 feet above sea level.
Salem based helicopters from the Oregon Army National Guard and Cessna 182 aircraft from the Civil Air Patrol flew numerous hours over the search area, but were unable to spot any sign of Ohm. Many hikers were contacted during the search, and fliers were posted at trail heads and along the Pacific Crest Trail.
In August 2013, a year after Ron's disappearance, MCSO Search & Rescue volunteers from Team 18, along with personnel in Jeeps and on horseback, returned to the area to search again in the hope of finding his remains. A total of 54 people were involved in the search; camping two nights in the wilderness to maximise the time available to search. The search was focused along the Pacific Crest Trail, between the Brietenbush trail head and the White Water trail head. But a total of 1135 man-hours of searching failed to find any evidence of Ohm.
To this day, no evidence of Ron Ohm's remains, clothing or equipment has been found. Another case of someone vanishing in Oregon and someone taking some pictures in the wilderness that mysteriously disappears despite a large search. Did Ron take his own life and walk off, giving the story to his friends that he planned to take pictures? Did a bear or mountain lion grab him? - but no clothing, camera or equipment left behind.