Prineville man's disappearance now a criminal case

After eight months and no leads, family boosts reward to $10,000

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - The family of a Prineville man who vanished more than eight months ago has more than tripled its reward, to $10,000, for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for his disappearance, authorities said Tuesday.

Crook County sheriff's deputies have been trying to find Robert Alan Bucknell, 55, since his last known contact was in Prineville on March 20.

His 1989 Jeep Cherokee was found a few days later off Juniper Canyon Road, north of Prineville Reservoir and about 12 miles southeast of Prineville, but there was no sign of him.

Initially, sheriff's deputies said they had not suspected foul play. But Sgt. Jim Chapman said Tuesday that the sheriff's office "is actively working a criminal investigation on this case, and anyone with information is asked to contact our office" at (541) 447-6398.

Chapman said they have no firm new leads or information that point toward foul play.

"It's that we're eight months down the road, nobody has heard from him," he said. "There's some things in his life that were consistent through his life, that stopped at this point. It'd be odd to find he just decided he wanted a new life and moved on."

What of another possibility – that perhaps he fell or had some sort of medical issue or accident in the fairly rural area?

"There's nothing to suggest he was out in the woods, either," Chapman said. "It's just kind of looks to us that there's a criminal element that we're investigating."

"The parents are really hoping the reward will help motivate those who might know something to come forward, share that information with us and help in the investigation," the sergeant added.

"We have had people who offered theories" as to what may have happened, Chapman said, "and we have had people who offered some personal recollections of the last time they saw him or talked to him, or who he may have been with."

Bucknell is described as 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.

Those with information also can contact the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-877-876-TIPS, or use the form on the Crime Stoppers page at KTVZ.COM. You can remain anonymous, and you could be eligible for a cash reward.

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