PORTLAND, Ore. — The body of missing University of Portland student Owen Klinger was found Sunday in the Willamette River near the St. Johns Bridge, a medical examiner confirmed Tuesday.
Klinger's parents on Monday told media outlets that they believed the body was their son. Mary and Dustin Klinger released the following statement Monday evening:
"Portland police have notified us that they have recovered a body that we believe is our son, Owen Klinger. We deeply appreciate the extraordinary effort and support that thousands of people have provided over the past two weeks. We now ask for privacy as we move forward with our healing process."
The body was found in the river near the 9400 block of Northwest St. Helens Road on Sunday afternoon. The medical examiner has not released a cause of death.
Klinger's parents thanked the community for their help in a statement to reporters on Tuesday.
Klinger left the University of Portland campus on Sunday, Oct. 6. He told his friends he was going to a lacrosse team meeting. Police learned that there was not a team meeting scheduled. Instead, he left the UP campus at 7:50 p.m. He turned off his phone and withdrew $150 from an ATM on campus.
Family, friends and volunteers searched for Klinger for weeks. Mary Klinger, Owen's mother, said everyone was baffled by his disappearance.
Police last week said Klinger watched videos of people hopping trains before he disappeared. They also said he was a fan of the film “Into the Wild,” in which a young man goes to Alaska to live off the grid.
Detectives worked with TriMet to determine that Klinger's last known location was in North Portland. Investigators believe he was seen walking toward an area where freight trains are commonly staged.
Klinger’s parents were frustrated that police shared the train-hopping theory, however. They said he was the type of kid who liked to be prepared. They said he left cold weather gear in his closet at school. A surveillance photo of him leaving the dorm showed him wearing a light jacket and drawstring backpack.
The University of Portland released a statement about Klinger on Monday night:
“Based upon conversations with family representatives and law enforcement, the University joins the Klinger family in their belief that Owen, their son and our community member, has died. An official statement from the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office confirming Owen’s death is forthcoming. Owen’s family has requested privacy at this time. May we all pray for Owen’s eternal rest, for consolation for his family and friends, and for abiding hope within our University community.”
University of Portland President Rev. Mark Poorman released his own statement on the school's Twitter account: