By Thomas Garcia: Freedom New Mexico
A former Roosevelt County resident has been presumed dead after a search to locate him in the forests of Oregon failed.
Deward R. Killion was reported missing in August from the Target Meadows Camp Area near Tollgate, Ore. in the Walla Walla forest district. Killion was pronounced dead when no trace of him could be found by search parties, according to family members.
Deward Killion did go missing in the Target Meadows camp area and a search was conducted by the Ultmatilla County sheriffs office, said Mike Rass Bach, Walla Walla District Forest Ranger.
“I was just beginning to work for the Walla Walla Forest district when Mr. Killion went missing,” said Rass Bach.
Killion was camping with his wife Grace Killion and was last seen going to pick huckleberries in a thicket near the campground, said Jo Frazier-Meyer, Killion’s sister.
“His wife Grace was going down to the pay station to pay for another night of camping at 2:30 p.m. and Deward was going to pick some huckleberries,” Meyer said. “When he did not return at 5:30 p.m. Grace alerted the rangers and they immediately began a search for him.”
Killion had just been in Portales in July visiting his sister and traveled to Ruidoso with her before flying out of El Paso to meet with his wife and travel to Oregon.
“I took him to the airport watched him take off and 10-15 days later I received a phone call from his children saying ‘dad is gone and we can’t find him’,” Meyer said.
The search continued for several days and no trace of Killion was found. Several packs of search dogs alerted to Killion’s scent but would stop in the same location with no trace of the scent continuing, said Meyer.
“My brother was an avid woodsman if there is one person that (that I would want with me if) I was to get lost in the woods with it would be him,” Meyer said. “It is so confounding that there is no trace of him at all the trail of his scent just to stop it’s maddening.”
Grace Killion said the day her husband disappeared was just an ordinary day for the couple who spent a lot of time camping out in their motorhome.
“We had been picking huckleberries in the morning and he wanted to go again in the afternoon,” she said. I didn’t worrry about him until — I thought he ought to be there by six.”
Grace Killion said it concerned her greatly when her 85-year-old husband of nearly 15 years wasn’t found that evening, she didn’t believe he could survive overnight.
“My thought was that he wouldn’t be alive by morning, she said. “He was a diabetic and I don’t believe he had medicines with him. I just never dreamed they wouldn’t find him.”
Killion’s picture was handed out to hunters along with a description of the clothes he was wearing when he was last seen.
Services for Killion will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Seventh-Day-Adventist Church in Portales.