The Skagit County Coroner has identified the body found Wednesday afternoon in Sedro-Woolley as that of Ramon “Ray” Jones, an 80-year-old man who had been missing for about 45 days.
Jones, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, had wandered from Birchview Memory Care the morning of Oct. 1.
Search crews, family and friends canvassed Sedro-Woolley for days and plastered the county with fliers to find him.
Jones was discovered at the bottom of an embankment about 1 p.m. Wednesday on someone’s residential property in the 24000 block of Alexander Street — less than half a mile away from where he’d wandered off.
A resident was unloading materials onto a compost pile in the backyard when he saw feet and legs down below, Sedro-Woolley Police Lt. Lin Tucker said.
Jones was hidden in 4- to 5-foot-tall grass beneath a tree house, well-concealed, Tucker added.
Coroner Daniel Dempsey said he is not sure how long ago Jones died, but that he had been deceased “for awhile.” The cause of death is hypothermia.
Shortly after Jones was reported missing, Search and Rescue volunteers from Skagit and Snohomish counties used horses, dogs, helicopters, thermal cameras, boats and hydroplanes to search for him.
By the end of that week, the official search was suspended. Family took over the effort, descending on Sedro-Woolley from as far away as Billings and Bozeman, Mont.
“Ray was a wonderful family man who will be dearly missed,” daughter Bonnie Graham Jones said in a written statement. “We are sincerely grateful for all of the prayers said on Ray’s behalf.”
Tucker said searchers had walked within 20 yards of the place where Jones was discovered, but couldn’t see him because he was so well hidden. Because his body was positioned beneath a tree house, the helicopters deployed to detect body heat would not have located him, officials said.
Jones was born and raised in Montana and, according to the Facebook page in his name, served in the U.S. Army and was deployed to Korea.
He has lived in Mill Creek in the past and lived in Anacortes for eight to nine years before moving to Birchview.