UPDATE: Sheriff's Office Search & Rescue, SAR partners join Molalla Police missing endangered person case

News Release from: Clackamas Co. Sheriff's Office
Posted: March 24, 2014, 3:15 p.m.

Media and Interested Parties


Photo: Janice Ernest


UPDATE: Thursday, March 27, 8 p.m.

At approximately 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 27, searchers found JANICE LYNN ERNEST deceased near Butte Creek Rd. outside Scotts Mills.

Ms. Ernest has been the subject of an exhaustive search of the area since her car was found abandoned on March 24. Ms. Ernest had been reported missing from her Molalla home on Sunday, March 16th at 8:30 am.

The Sheriff's Office offers its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Ms. Ernest. We also want to thank the volunteers who donated many hours to this search.

Search and Rescue (SAR) Coordinators from the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office have been in the area searching since her car was found. SAR Coordinators were assisted by the Oregon Army National Guard, Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue, Portland Mountain Rescue, Mountain Wave Emergency Communications, Washington and Marion County Search and Rescue resources, Oregon State Police and the Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office.

Clackamas County SAR Coordinators also want to thank the public for the tips they provided. Citizen tips and media coverage were instrumental in helping them to focus their search in what is a very dense wilderness area. Without citizen tips, searchers would not have had a place to start.

No signs of foul play were discovered in this case.


Clackamas County Sheriff's Search and Rescue coordinators recently confirmed reports JANICE LYNN ERNEST was last seen on Friday, March 14.

Earlier today (Wednesday, March 26), deputies contacted a couple working on some property in the search area. When contacted during the search, the couple positively identified Ms. Ernest from a photograph. The couple told deputies she was seen walking down Butte Creek Road near Scotts Mills on Friday, March 14.

The couple said Ms. Ernest appeared to be walking fine, and looked a bit dirty, as if she had been walking in the woods. She actively avoided direct contact with the couple that had seen her.

The Sheriff's Office is asking residents of the Scotts Mills area to be on the lookout for Ms. Ernest. Please check any storage sheds, barns or other outbuildings, in case she sought shelter in the area.

NOTE TO MEDIA: The couple who provided the information do not reside in the area and are not available for interviews.

EARLIER (Monday, March 24, 2014): Sheriff's Office SAR joins search

Last night (Sunday, March 23, 2014), authorities were alerted to a suspicious vehicle near the 16000 block of Butte Creek Road near Molalla.

Upon further investigation, police found it to be the vehicle belonging to JANICE LYNN ERNEST -- a person previously reported as missing/endangered by the Molalla Police Department (see previous release below). The vehicle was found unoccupied.

It is believed Janice Ernest may have wandered into the forest area near where the vehicle was found. Clackamas County Sheriff's Search & Rescue (SAR) Coordinators responded to the scene.

SAR Coordinators have been working with the Oregon Army National Guard, Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue, Portland Mountain Rescue, Washington County, and Marion County resources to aid in the search.

Searchers plan to work until dark and resume operations tomorrow.

A photo of Janice Lynn Ernest is attached to this release.



UPDATE: The Molalla Police Department is still trying to locate Ernest. New information leads us to believe she could have gone to the Vancouver, Washington area. Ernest has not been on her medications for at least a week and will most likely be easily confused and disoriented. If she is seen please call your local law enforcement agency Clackamas County non-emergency at 503-655-8211.


On Sunday, March 16, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. JANICE LYNN ERNEST was reported missing from her Molalla, Oregon home.

The 62-year-old woman was last seen Thursday, March 13, 2014 at her residence. Although foul play is not suspected at this time, Ernest suffers from bipolar disorder and is believed to be off of her medication. Both she and her vehicle are missing.

Janice Ernest is described as a white female, 62 years old, approximately 5 feet 4 inches tall, 125 pounds, with sandy brown hair and blue eyes. No clothing description available.

Ernest may be driving her 2005 white Buick Rendezvous, Oregon license plate 969BWX. It is believed that she does not have her cell phone with her at this time and recent circumstances indicate she may not be able to find her way home without assistance.

To report information or further details call the Non-Emergency Dispatch number at 503-655-8211. Refer to Molalla Police Case # 14-0474.


News-release archive

Contact Info:
Robert Wurpes, Lieutenant
Office of Public Information
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office

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