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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

August 26, 2013 at 8:39 PM

Police find body of teen headed home from Seattle to Arizona

PORTLAND — The body of a missing Arizona teenager has been found, and authorities say his death will be investigated as a suicide.

Johathan Croom, 18, had been reported missing by his parents after he failed to return on time from a trip to Seattle to visit a friend. He was expected home by Aug. 17. and was to start college in Mesa, Ariz.

In a telephone interview, Crooms father, David Croom, said his son was “a young man who had a broken heart and headed out to find himself.” He said his son was grieving the end of a recent relationship with somebody in Phoenix.

The family is looking forward to finding out exactly what happened, he said and added, “Please pray for our family.”

Jonathan Croom’s SUV was found Wednesday in Riddle, Ore., a town of 1,200 people just off  Interstate 5.

It was reported Monday that Croom had talked with his parents about the book “Into the Wild” and had told a friend he wanted to run away.

Douglas County sheriff’s spokesman Dwes Hutson said text messages between Croom and a friend indicated Croom wanted to run away.

Hutson said Croom talked to his parents about Christopher McCandless, whose journey to Alaska was documented in the book “Into the Wild.” McCandless gave up his worldly goods to live in the Alaska wilderness, only to die there, perhaps from eating wild potatoes.

“I think we have kind of a combination there,” Hutson said before Croom’s body was found. “He talked with his parents about ‘Into the Wild,’ and in text messages we’ve looked at, he does specifically talk about running away, kind of just running away from his life.”

The scene near Croom’s truck didn’t indicate suspicious circumstances, like signs of a struggle or evidence of a break-in, Hutson said. Rather, searchers are treating the disappearance as one in which Croom walked away from his vehicle voluntarily.

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