Local government

Sheriff’s office stops search for missing man last heard from in April

VALE – The Malheur County Sheriff’s Office has suspended an active search for a missing Washington state man.

The search for Eric Westfall began May 6 between Juntura and Westfall after Westfall’s father contacted the sheriff’s office.

Westfall, of Kirkland, Wash., was on a road trip from Washington to Payson Ariz., to see his father. The last contact with Westfall was April 17, when he talked to his mother by cell phone from a hot spring near Juntura where he was camping.  

Travis Johnson, Malheur County sheriff, said deputies and search and rescue teams combed the area between Juntura and Westfall last week but found no sign of Westfall. Johnson said the sheriff’s office also used a plane and a helicopter to search the area.

“We have not seen a vehicle. We contacted all the ranchers and people in that area and no one has seen him,” said Johnson.

Johnson said Westfall’s information has been entered into a nationwide law enforcement data base.

“So if someone runs his license plate or driver’s license, it will hit and return and let us know someone has seen him,” said Johnson.

Now, said Johnson, the sheriff’s office is “just discussing if there is more that we need to do.”

Johnson said the case is “puzzling.”

“There is a chance he is in Malheur County on a back road but there are a lot of those,” said Johnson.

Johnson said the sheriff’s office may search the area around Cottonwood Mountain, north of Westfall.

“But we don’t even know if he went to Westfall,” said Johnson.

Westfall, 50, is five-foot-10 inches tall and weight 200 pounds. He was driving a 2013 silver Nissan Xterra and had with him a dog with three legs named Tripper.

Anyone with any information on Westfall should contact the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office at 541-473-3377.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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