Authorities release new details on missing Kentucky men

Oregon State Police (OSP) and Hood River County Sheriff’s Office (HRSO), working in cooperation with Kentucky State Police (KSP), are continuing to ask for the public’s help to locate a father and son whose vehicle was found last week along Highway 35 in the Mt. Hood area. With this weekend’s expected warm weather and the potential for many visitors and hikers in the Mt. Hood area, some new details are being released after confirming the men were in the area last week.

On Sept. 5, OSP checked a vehicle reported by Oregon Department of Transportation parked and abandoned along Highway 35 about eight miles south of the town of Mt. Hood. The vehicle, a silver 2012 Kia Rio four-door displaying a Kentucky license plate, had been parked about one week at that location approximately a half mile north of the Dog River Trailhead in Hood River County.

An OSP trooper checked the vehicle that morning and noted a significant amount of hiking equipment inside, an observation that appeared unusual for someone intending to hike and park a vehicle for that length of time at its location. The trooper unsuccessfully checked the area to find anyone connected with the vehicle. Two days later, OSP had the vehicle towed and impounded as an abandoned vehicle.

Follow up investigation by OSP and KSP confirmed the vehicle’s owner, John Kevin Wood, age 59, and his son, Jason Anthony Wood, age 32, both from Bardstown, Ky., have not been in contact with family nor have neighbors seen them since mid-August. KSP initiated an investigation into the possible whereabouts of both men, took missing person reports and entered them as missing in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database.

John Wood is described as a white male, 6-1 170 pounds with gray hair and blue eyes. Jason Wood is described as a white male, 5-9, 140 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.

The following related information is being released in this update:

n On Wednesday, Sept. 10, OSP and HRSO served a search warrant on the vehicle and found several personal items including sleeping bags, a stove, and hiking gear. The items found in the vehicle led HRSO Search & Rescue to believe they didn’t leave the vehicle behind with the intention of going on a several-day hiking trip.

n Receipts were also found in the vehicle tracking them from Kentucky to Oregon, including a receipt from a Hood River fast food restaurant dated Sept. 2. OSP contacted the restaurant and confirmed John Wood was there on that date.

n No maps or notes were found in the vehicle or at their Kentucky apartment indicating a planned hiking route or length of time they were going to be gone.

n A ranger at the Mt. Hood Ranger Station in Parkdale confirmed the two men came to the ranger station on or about September 2. The men indicated they were interested in hiking in the Mt Hood area and possibly the Pacific Crest trail.

n HRSO Sheriff Matt English said Search & Rescue personnel concentrated searches starting in the immediate area of where the vehicle was found parked and then worked outward from there. Searchers have checked the area on both the east and west sides of Highway 35, the Cat Creek area, and forest service roads on the west side leading up to Dog River Road, looking for any sign or sighting that the men were in the area. Several aerial flights were also conducted over a two-day period in the vicinity.

OSP, HRSO and KSP urge anyone seeing either man in the Mt. Hood area since Sept. 2, or with information regarding their whereabouts, to call OSP Northern Command Center dispatch at 503-731-3030. Lead investigator is OSP Detective Lori Rosebraugh.

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