slides: Man Missing Since Christmas Among 18 Oregonians Who Vanished in 2014
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Boyer was recorded on surveillance video at an Umpqua Bank in Northeast Portland on Christmas Day. He was reported missing on Dec. 29 after neighbors noticed the newspapers pilling up outside his home. No foul play is suspected in the case, but Boyer is reported to have minor dementia, according to police.
Boyer is one of dozens who go missing in Oregon each year.
“Some people come home, some fall prey to foul play, there’s so many variables,” said Sergeant Bob Ray with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. “Everyone does everything they can. We never stop looking.”
There are hundreds of open missing persons cases in Oregon, according to data from the U.S. Department of Justice National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. There were 36 open cases registered just between 2013 and 2014 alone.
Slideshow Below: 20 Missing People from Oregon
Runways and people suffering from mental illness, like Boyer, are leading causes for missing person cases. Most get resolved quickly, according to Sergeant Pete Simpson with the Portland Police Bureau.
“Some people are found before they are even entered in the system,” Ray said.
Other cases are trickier to solve. Although police can utilize information such as cell phone data, banking information, and leads from family and friends, it is difficult to find someone after the basic leads are exhausted.
In the high-profile case of Kyron Horman, a 7-year-old boy who went missing in Portland in 2010, local police and the FBI conducted an extensive investigation, but no arrests have been made and the case remains open.
Some, however, come to grim conclussions.
“Months go by or years even, and then remains are found that match a missing person. That’s the harsh reality for some cases.” Simpson said.
Vicki Kelly founded the Tommy Foundation after her son’s remains were found a year and half after he went missing. Kelly has worked with the National Center for Missing Children, families and law enforcement to help find the missing.
“I’ve supported over 150 families whose child was listed as a runaway and later discovered their remains,” Kelly said. “Even if they’re a runway, once they hit the streets, the statistics say they will probably engage in criminal behavior to survive.”
Kelly said that when missing children cases are listed as runaways, they may not receive proper attention from law enforcement as a missing person case.
In 2008, the Oregon legislature passed a law advocated by Kelly and the Tommy Foundation, which says law enforcement cannot refuse to take a report for a missing person.
For people concerned someone they know might be missing, Simpson said to watch for a broken pattern in their lives, like the newspapers piled up outside Boyer’s home. If someone is concerned something is not right, Simpson said to ask the police to do a welfare check to make sure the person is not injured or deceased.
Related Slideshow: 20 Missing People from Oregon
The following is a list of the 20 most recent missing people from Oregon. The list is complied from the U.S. Department of Justice National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.