Date:  03/01/19

By:  Lt. Bryan Husband, Search and Rescue Coordinator


Rescued:  John Goodwin, 82 yom, Prineville, OR


On 02/28/19, at about 4:52pm, Deschutes County 9-1-1 Dispatch received a call from Lydia Smith, who reported her father, John Goodwin, was lost and walking in the snow somewhere east of Bend in the area of Hwy 20 East and Hwy 27.  Smith reported she had just talked to Goodwin on his cell phone before dialing 9-1-1, who reported he had gotten his truck stuck in the snow while trying to drive to his ranch the day before.  It was believed Goodwin had spent the night in his truck and then attempted to walk out at some point on 02/28/19.  Smith further advised her father had dementia and sounded disoriented on the phone.  Temperatures in the search area during this incident were approximately 19 degrees.

Four Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Deputies began responding to the described area, while Dispatch worked on a ping for Goodwin’s cell phone.  The area surrounding Hwy 20 East and Hwy 27 has numerous pockets of poor cell reception which resulted in unreliable initial ping results.  10 DCSO Search and Rescue Volunteers responded to assist as well as three additional DCSO Deputies.  Air Link was contacted who advised they would have an available flight crew to assist at about 7pm.  Due to the search area being on the border of Deschutes and Crook Counties, the Crook County Sheriff’s Office was contacted who also began a response to the search area.

The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center was contacted and a request was made for their Cellular Forensics Specialists to assist in further pin pointing Goodwin’s location utilizing his cell phone data.  At approximately 7:28pm, the AFRCC contacted DCSO identifying a likely location for Goodwin within 854 meters.  This was an open area on BLM land northeast of Merrill Rd (off of Hwy 27).  Air Link and ground resources were directed to this area.

At approximately 8:10pm, Air Link spotted Goodwin’s truck in the search area provided by AFRCC and was able to observe footprints in the snow moving south away from it.  Air Link was able to follow the footprints for about .5 miles, where they located Goodwin laying in the snow at approximately 8:22pm.  Air Link relayed GPS coordinates for Goodwin’s location to ground units who traveled as far as they could by vehicle, before having to hike/snow shoe the remaining 300 yards.  DCSO SAR Volunteers and one DCSO Deputy reached Goodwin at approximately 8:40pm.  Goodwin’s clothes were wet and he was showing signs of hypothermia.  DCSO SAR Volunteers immediately began warming Goodwin also using pads to get him off of the snow.

DCSO SAR Volunteers then carried Goodwin back to their vehicles, transporting him to Hwy 20 East and George Millican Rd, where they met Bend Fire Department personnel.  Bend Fire personnel further assessed Goodwin and then transported him to St. Charles Hospital in Bend for further treatment.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank Air Link and AFRCC for their assistance, which expedited the search and rescue process significantly potentially saving Goodwin’s life.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is a full service agency providing patrol, criminal investigations, jail operations, civil and search and rescue. Special operations include SWAT, Marine Patrol, ATV Patrol, Forest Patrol, along with four K9 units. Founded in 1916 and today lead by your duly elected Sheriff L. Shane Nelson, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office serves the nearly 190,000 residents in Deschutes County. The agency has 230 authorized and funded personnel, which includes 187 sworn employees who provide services to the 3,055 square miles of Deschutes County.