POWELL BUTTE, Ore. - A Crook County Sheriff's Office search dog team on Thursday afternoon found a 75-year-old Powell Butte man who wandered away from home and had been missing for several hours, deputies said – the first of two Search and Rescue missions of the day.
Deputies were dispatched just after 2 p.m. on a report of a missing person in the area of Southwest Shumway Road and Alfalfa Road in Powell Butte, said Sgt. Travis Jurgens.
Family members said Jose "Joe" Cruz had left his home and had been missing for about 2 ½ hours. Family, friends and neighbors had been searching for him, to no avail, Jurgens said.
Deputies also were told Cruz has a pre-existing medical condition that requires he take medication. Another concern, Jurgens said, was that Cruz left the residence on foot, without any water, with temperatures nearly 80 degrees.
Crook County Search and Rescue was activated, and several volunteers responded to the area with deputies, including two dog teams.
Shortly after 5 p.m., one of the dog teams found Cruz about a quarter-mile east of his home. Jurgens said deputies determined that Cruz had wandered through the sagebrush and juniper, coming out at Shumway Road.
Cruz then walked down another dirt and gravel road, along a fence line. At some point, he laid down beside a barbed wire fence, where he was located, conscious and alert but dehydrated, Jurgens said.
Crook County Fire and Rescue medics responded to the scene and took Cruz to St. Charles Bend for evaluation, the sergeant said.
Then, shortly before 7 p.m., the sheriff's office got a report of two men who were overdue back home from a trip into the Ochoco Mountains for a morning of shooting, said Michael Ryan, the sheriff's office emergency manager.
Deputies were advised the pair, Clarence Cook and Monte Chambers, had been due back home by noon.
Crook County Emergency Management activated the SAR Team, which found the two men in the Biggs Spring area in good condition and transported them back to Prineville.
"As always, the sheriff's office would like to remind everyone that any time of year, travel in the forest can be very hazardous and treacherous," Ryan wrote in a news release.
"Always plan ahead, tell someone the route you are planning on taking and stick to that route," he added. "Always remember to bring a cellphone, food, water, clothing and blankets, in case you have to spend the night."