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Ryan Horn found dead near Buxton

Family learns fate of Hillsboro man missing since August


After 40 days of waiting for answers, the family of missing Hillsboro man Ryan Ross Horn learned Tuesday evening that their son and brother was dead.

Horn’s red Ford pickup was discovered that morning by a man hunting for his dog on a logging road off Highway 47, west of the Sunset Highway near Buxton, authorities said. The body of Horn, 28, was found nearby.

“Our hearts are absolutely broken,” Horn’s sister, Jessica Horn Bledsoe of Cornelius, said Wednesday morning, noting that family members, friends and law enforcement officials had been in that vicinity dozens of times since Horn disappeared from his Hillsboro home Aug. 29.

“It’s a relief to know where Ryan was, but the reality of finding him is overwhelmingly painful.”

Washington County sheriff’s deputies located Horn’s body about 60 yards from his truck in a grassy, recessed area near a creek south of Stubb Stewart State Park, said Hillsboro Police Det. Marth Bual, who led the month-and-a-half-long investigation into the disappearance. A handgun was found near the body. Police do not suspect foul play. by: COURTESY PHOTO - The body of Ryan Horn, 28, was discovered along a remote road in rural Washington County Tuesday. He had been missing from his Hillsboro home since Aug. 29.

“There’s no way you could have been on the side of the road and seen Ryan’s truck,” said Bual, who led a multiple-agency search for Horn that involved officers from Washington, Tillamook, Columbia and Clatsop counties.

In the end, it was a flyer printed up by the family that led to the mystery's resolution.

“The man [who found Horn] had lost his dog and pulled into the area off Highway 47, where he ran into Ryan’s truck,” Bual said. “He went down to Time Gas Station [49950 N.W. Sunset Highway], where he saw a flyer with Ryan's picture and was reminded of the truck. That’s when he called 911.”

Horn’s body was positively identified Tuesday afternoon by Washington County Deputy Medical Examiner Kate Makkai, Bual said. It was transported to the state medical examiner’s office in Clackamas, where an official cause of death was expected Wednesday or Thursday.

Meanwhile, family members were reeling from the outcome but grateful for the public’s widespread interest in locating Horn.

“We want to thank everybody — law enforcement as well as the countless friends and strangers who shared Ryan’s story on Facebook and who spent hours and days searching for him or hanging up flyers,” said Bledsoe, one of Horn’s four siblings. “We are comforted by the outpouring of care from the community.”

She was incensed by news from authorities that Horn’s truck had been broken into and its stereo system stolen by someone, likely several weeks ago, who might have reported the missing vehicle to police.

“It makes us very upset to know that Ryan’s truck was spotted and that the person or persons, for their own reasons, didn’t say anything,” Bledsoe said. “Still, we feel there are a lot more good people in the world than bad.”

Ryan Horn was last seen by his mother, Michele Haynes of Hillsboro, the morning he left home in late August. Haynes said her son suffered from bipolar disorder. Although he was under a doctor’s care, he had been particularly despondent after a divorce over the summer. Bledsoe said she looked forward to a time when the family might serve as advocates for people with mental illnesses.

“Ryan had a physical problem with his brain, but that was not who he was," Bledsoe said of her brother, who worked at the biotechnology firm Genentech Inc. in Hillsboro. “He was a very deep-thinking, deep-feeling person who struggled with his own personal demons.

“He had a hilarious sense of humor and loved being silly. This large piece of our hearts can never be mended.”

Ryan Horn would have turned 29 on Oct. 17. Besides Bledsoe and Haynes, he is survived by his father, Brent Horn of Hillsboro; sisters Amy Higgins of Arizona and Kaitlyn Horn of Tigard; and a brother, Nicholas Horn-Rollins of Alaska. His family will be planning a memorial service for him in the coming days, but details were not available by press time.

“We’re looking ahead to Ryan's birthday and wondering how we’re going to get through this,” Bledsoe said.




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