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Family of St. Helens woman organizes search

Relatives of Cheryl Hart became concerned after she stopped communicating with them


Hart
The family of a St. Helens woman reported missing in central Oregon is planning to search for her over the weekend in Klamath Falls and the surrounding area, where they believe she will be found.

Cheryl Hart, 35, of St. Helens, was reported missing to the Eugene Police Department on Aug. 8, after members of Hart’s family were unable to reach her and became concerned for her well-being, according to a press release from the department.

Hart was last seen with her boyfriend, 36-year-old Jeremy Milutin, at a residence in Eugene on Thursday, Aug. 4. At 7 a.m. on Aug. 5, Milutin was seen alone at a store in the area, and was then seen at noon alone in a store in Klamath Falls before being seen again in Eugene at 10 p.m. that night.

Hart’s family has not had contact from her since Aug. 4.

MilutinPrior to that date, Hart had been traveling with Milutin and spent time in Eugene with him, but had maintained regular communications with her three children, ages 18, 16 and 10, family members said. Hart’s mother then attempted to send messages via her Facebook account, but had no response.

Eugene patrol officers saw Milutin driving in Eugene in the evening when they determined the blue 1994 Buick Century he was driving was stolen out of Columbia County. Milutin was arrested and booked into Lane County Jail, where he remains in custody, the Eugene Police Department release added.

Court documents indicate Milutin has an extensive record, including multiple theft charges, reckless driving charges and attemps to elude police officers.

Several of Hart’s family members and friends are worried that something might have happened to the woman. They do not believe she ran away.

“We know Cheryl, she would not do this to us, especially her children,” Karen Melling-Price, Hart’s aunt, said.

Melling-Price has organized a small search party to look for the woman in the Klamath Falls area starting Friday, Aug. 19. The family is also raising funds to hire a K-9 search team. A GoFundMe page for the fundraiser can be found here.

According to security video showing Milutin walking into a store by himself in the area, Melling-Price said she believes Hart could be somewhere nearby, adding that Milutin “made purchases along the way” during the drive from Eugene to Klamath Falls. The search group plans to camp in Chiloquin, a small city on the edge of remote wilderness in Klamath County, while looking for Hart.

Others, like Chris Fisher of Scappoose, who is a high school friend of Hart’s, agreed it is unusual for her to not contact family. Fisher has been sharing media posts and police press releases to spread the word about Hart.

“We want to say ‘thank you’ to the community for all their love and support, and we really do appreciate their prayers,” Melling-Price said. “We are doing everything we can to bring Cheryl home.”

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office contacted the Eugene Police Department, but is not participating in the investigation into Hart’s disappearance, Undersheriff Andy Moyer said Tuesday.

Hart’s three children are being cared for by a family member in the St. Helens area.