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Police investigate body found in bag on Columbia

Officials need public's help to identify adult white male

Multnomah County detectives began looking for clues in what appears to be a bizarre murder case, after human remains were found in a duffle bag floating down the Columbia River on Sunday, Sept 17.

The remains have been identified as those of a white adult male, approximately 6 feet tall, and 275-285 pounds, but police know little else at this time.

A man and woman who were fishing on the Columbia near the east end of Government Island on Sunday evening saw the large black athletic bag floating down the river, and pulled it in to get a better look at it, said Lt. Jason Gates, Multnomah County Sheriff's Office spokesman.

When they grabbed the bag, they noted that it had a foul odor and seemed suspicious. The couple decided to leave the bag closer to the shore, and returned to dock at 8:10 p.m. to call 9-1-1.

The couple escorted representatives from the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office River Patrol Unit to where they had left the bag at the east end of Government Island, but it had been swept away by the current. River Patrol personnel eventually located the bag downstream near the Interstate 205 bridge.

Deputies then 'went hands on with the bag' and found human remains, and evidence that the victim had been murdered, Gate said.

'This is definitely a homicide investigation,' he said.

An autopsy by the Multnomah County Medical Examiner's Office revealed that the victim, a white adult male, has been dead approximately three to four weeks.

Prior to the autopsy, detectives were only able to guess whether the remains belonged to a man or woman, Gates said, adding that sheriff's officials are not releasing any other information about the condition of the remains or how the victim died.

'It's bizarre,' Gates said. 'It's movie quality stuff.'

Multnomah County Sheriff's Office detectives are investigating the incident.

'They're in the process of trying to determine the starting point of the crime scene,' Gates said.

Detectives are also reviewing missing person reports in hopes of identifying the victim.

Anyone with information about missing persons, or who may have seen someone place a large black duffle bag in the Columbia River, should call the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office tip line at 503-261-2810.

Reporter Erin Shea can be reached by calling 503-492-5118, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..