|Photo Credit: News Watch 12|
On June 7, 2010, Finchum's car, a purple 2002 Dodge Intrepid, was found abandoned and stuck in the mud in the mountains near the Klamath River Canyon on June 7. The desolate, rugged area where the car ws found is south of Klamath Falls near the California border. Klamath County Sheriff said he left behind his Blackberry cell phone, groceries, and items for his eight-month old daughter.
Ryan's family is disturbed by the cell phone being left behind. "He would never, never leave that cell phone," his mother, Leigh, told the Mail Tribune. And, she added, "From what we understand that is a place where criminals dump stolen cars."
The family has told Footprints that the car was not removed from the mountains until the end of July. It then sat in the police parking lot until mid-September when it was finally processed. Ryan Finchum remained missing during this time.
On August 7, 2010, an ATV rider spotted the remains of Ryan Finchum floating in the Klamath River just a short distance downstream from where Finchum's car had been found the previous month. Due to water conditions, recovery efforts could not begin until the following day. On August 8, the Klamath County swift-water rescue team recovered the body from from a rapid where it had become lodged in the rocks.
Sheriff Tim Evinger told the media that the level of decomposition was too advanced for the Klamath County medical examiner to be able to determine a cause of death. However, the body bore no obvious signs of trauma, so it is suspected the Finchum might have drowned. Klamath County Sheriff's Office has officially suspended the case, but Leigh Finchum, Ryan Finchum's mother, says she will continue to stay in touch with investigators.
Leigh Finchum, lives in Texas where Finchum's father and younger sister reside. His eight-month-old daughter and her mother, live in Medford.
"You know that this is hard," Leigh Finchum told NewsWatch 12. "But the years to come is what will be harder, trying to explain to his daughter, our granddaughter, where her daddy is and why he's not here," Finchum said.
About Ryan Finchum
Ryan Finchum grew up in a military family and lived in several spots across the country, including Norman, Okla., where he still has friends. He served a brief stint in the Army before he was discharged with a medical issue. In the days before he went missing, he was looking for a job.
Ryan Finchum had faced some adversity in his life in recent years, his mother told the Mail Tribune, but was proud of his daughter and would often take her on walks to the Rogue Valley Mall.
Facts of Interest
Name/age: Ryan Finchum, 25
Last seen: 6/3/10, Medford, Oregon
Recovered: 6/8/10 (found 6/7), Klamath River
Physical Description: 6'4", 250 pounds, red hair, several tattoos, including "FINCHUM" splayed across his should blades, a large Celtic cross with praying hands clutching dog tags across his back, two M-16 rifles on his left bicep and a skull with a rattlesnake on his right bicep.
Investigating Agency: Klamath County Sheriff's Department, 541-883-5130.