LONGVIEW, Wash. -- One week after the last reported sighting of 91-year-old Wilford “Ray” Johnson, deputies confirmed there are no clues about what happened to the Longview man.
His car was discovered on Friday, June 30, more than 100 miles from his home in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
Investigators with the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, who are leading the search, say Skamania County sheriff's deputies found the silver 2007 Honda Accord abandoned in a ditch, locked, with the keys still inside.
A three-day search of the remote, wooded spot followed.
“They searched on foot with dog search teams. They searched from the air, and after three days of extensive searching, unfortunately no clues have surfaced,” said Chief Criminal Deputy Charlie Rosenzweig.
In a news conference Thursday, Rosenzweig sat beside Johnson’s daughter, Linda Bridges.
“We need him back,” she pleaded. “We need to know where he is. We just, we need to know.”
Bridges told reporters she received word of the car’s location hours after reporting her dad missing.
She said the location stunned her.
“When we were driving up to the location of the car, all the way up there I'm saying ‘There's just no way he would have driven up there,’” she recalled.
Neighbors said Thursday the distance doesn’t make sense to them either. Johnson is of sound mind, they said.
He’s also a creature of habit, known for his love of eating out at local restaurants, taking walks through his Longview neighborhood and feeding the deer that wander through his yard.
They added Johnson rarely ventured far from home and would never make loved ones worry.
“Kind, gentle, loving,” said Loren Hedge, Jr., describing his neighbor of nearly a decade. “He'd give the shirt off his back for anyone who needed it.”
Investigators say the last reported sighting of Johnson came Thursday afternoon at the Dollar Tree store in Longview.
Surveillance video, turned over to investigators, reportedly shows Johnson shopping in the store.
No one saw him after that.
Investigators said his car showed no obvious signs of foul play.
Bridges said her father doesn’t carry a cellphone, and there’s been no activity in his bank accounts.
For now, loved ones are hoping someone will remember seeing Johnson on Thursday, June 29, and speak up.
“Somebody saw something,” said neighbor Sues Hedge. “You know just keep his face in your mind's eye… and pray.”
Anyone with information on the disappearance of Wilford “Ray” Johnson is asked to call the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office.
You can also make a report anonymously through the “Tip 411” app.
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