BEND, Ore. - Authorities say a hiker in Washington state has found the remains of a 23-year-old south Deschutes County man in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. They said the man, wanted on a Deschutes County arrest warrant, was at the wheel of a pickup truck stolen in the Madras area last month when he ran away at the end of a high-speed police chase into the snowy wilderness and eluded searchers.
The Skamania County Sheriff's Office said in a news release that a hiker from Vancouver reported his finding Friday while hiking in the Trapper Creek Wilderness Area just north of Carson, Washington.
Deputies responded and interviewed the hiker, who said he was several miles from the Trapper Creek Trailhead when he discovered the remains.
Authorities retrieved the body Saturday, after navigating waist-deep snowdrifts and several downed trees, and on Monday, the remains were positively identified as Joshua Allen Brown, said Undersheriff Pat Brown. Monday would have been Brown's 24th birthday.
The sheriff's office says Brown was the suspected driver of a Dodge Ram pickup truck, stolen in the Madras area, that was involved in a high-speed pursuit March 20 in the Carson, Washington area, which ended when the driver fled on foot in the Government Mineral Springs area of the Trapper Creek Wilderness.
The Clark County Medical Examiner's Office hasn't yet determined a cause of death, and Brown said there were no obvious signs of injury. The investigation is ongoing.
Brown said the man's remains were found about three miles up the Dry Creek Trail, in an area only reachable by snowshoe or snowmobile during the winter.
Online court records show Brown was indicted last month by a Deschutes County grand jury on four counts of car theft and one count of first-degree burglary, accused of stealing a Ford F-250 and Ford Focus on March 10, also breaking into a southeast Bend residence the same day,
A Deschutes County Jail officer said Brown was booked into the jail on March 11 on car theft and first-degree criminal trespass charges and conditionally released two days later.
An arrest warrant was issued April 3 for Brown for failure to appear in court.