Missing Prineville man's body found in Ochoco Creek

Officials say he slipped or fell on way home

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - (Update: Missing man's body found in Ochoco Creek)

The body of a missing Prineville man who was the focus of a public alert was found Sunday by searchers in Ochoco Creek, having apparently slipped or fell down a steep embankment, police said.

The Crook County Sheriff's Search and Rescue team found Jim Garner Heggie, 56, around 9:40 a.m. in an area of the creek that's difficult to access and covered by vegetation, making his discovery difficult, Sgt. James Peterson said.

Police had turned to the public for help late Saturday in finding Heggie, who had left a home on Northwest Seventh Street Friday night or early Saturday. Peterson said at the time that Heggie was endangered as he is dependent on his medications and might have dementia.

An investigation found that Heggie was walking home from downtown Prineville and slipped or fell into the creek from a steep embankment, the sergeant said.

The exact cause of death is unknown, but drowning and/or possible medical complications after the fall are likely, Peterson said.

Along with age and mobility, alcohol may have been a factor, Peterson said, as Heggie last was seen leaving a drinking establishment along North Main Street around 8:30 p.m. on Friday. He was reported missing the next morning, about 15 hours later.

Peterson said the investigation determined Heggie likely died soon after leaving the downtown area, as he headed home.

Police thanked the Crook County Sheriff's Office and SAR members for their help in finding Heggie. Peterson said they also want to thank citizens and family members who responded and provided information.

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