UPDATE: Erik Jorgensen's body found at Idaho National Guard training range south of Boise
UPDATE: The Ada County Coroner has tentatively identified the body as Erik Jorgensen's. The report is stating that the cause of death is a self-inflicted gunshot to the head with the death occurring on Friday July 19th, 2013.
“It is a sad day for all of us in the Idaho Army National Guard,” said Brigadier General John Goodale, Idaho Army National Guard commander. “We have lost one of our own, and today our thoughts and prayers are with the Jorgensen family.”
Col. Tim Marsano said, "Pfc. Jorgensen served with us one weekend a month and two weeks a year. At the time of his death he was not on military duty with us, nor was he in uniform. While we suspected the deceased was Pfc. Jorgensen, we awaited the coroner’s news release tentatively confirming his identity."
Two members of the Idaho Army National Guard from Pfc. Jorgensen’s military unit did work to try and locate him on Friday, July 19 after we were informed that he sent a distressed note to people he knew late Thursday night, July 18. However, the attempt to locate him was unsuccessful.
“At approximately 5:45 p.m. (Monday), soldiers training at the Idaho National Guard's Orchard Combat Training Center called our range control office to report a civilian vehicle parked near Range 29 at the west side of the 140,000 acre range complex -- approximately fifteen miles south of Gowen Field ,” said Idaho National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Tim Marsano.
“The vehicle was a white Dodge Ram pickup truck. Soldiers reporting the vehicle noted it had been parked there for about a day and they were concerned that it may have been stuck. While civilian vehicles are not prohibited from using the perimeter road of the complex, outside the impact area of live military ordnance used there, it is unusual for vehicles to be parked there for any length of time,” Marsano said.
Upon further investigation, a deceased man was discovered in the immediate vicinity of the truck, Marsano said. “The deceased was not a soldier taking part in any military training occurring at the range this week; indications were that he was a civilian.”
The death is under investigation by the Ada County’s Sheriff’s Office. "There is no sign of foul play," said Ada County Sheriff's Office spokesman Patrick Orr.
“The training range is massive. In acreage, it’s about three times the size of the City of Boise,” Marsano said. “So it’s not out of the question that a vehicle may not be immediately spotted out there.”
According to Marsano, this is a timeline of events which happened after the body was found:
The Idaho National Guard dispatchers contacted the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, who arrived with Ada County Coroner and BLM staff at 7:39 p.m.
At 8:20 p.m., the Coroner’s Office staff departed the scene with the body
At 9:19 p.m., a commercial tow truck arrived to tow the white truck away
At 9:43 p.m., the tow truck and Sheriff’s deputies left the scene. The area is now cleared for resumption of military training.
“While OCTC military operations are controlled by the Idaho National Guard, the OCTC is located on Bureau of Land Management lands,” Marsano explained.
Today’s Channel6/Fox 9 reported Sunday that searchers were looking for Erik Jorgensen, 26, an Idaho National Guard soldier who had been missing since Thursday.
The vehicle at the scene is believed to be Jorgensen’s. We previously reported he was driving a white Dodge Ram truck, the same type of vehicle that was found at the OCTC.
Although authorities have not yet positively identified the body found in the desert, it is believed to be Jorgensen’s.
"On Thursday night (July 18th), he sent out a mass text message basically saying he was a waste of oxygen on this earth," said Cindy Crow, Erik’s mother.
After Crow received that text message from her son; she left her home in California and headed to Idaho. She called police to check on him -- but they only confirmed what she already knew: that Erik was missing.
The only clues he left behind a text message and his beloved dog. Friends and family all agree Erik would never leave his best friend.
On Monday night, a person believed to be Crow posted a Facebook message saying, “It is with the greatest sadness of our life to have to share that our sweet boy spread his wings and flew to God's protective arms where the sun always shines and there is no pain. God keep my baby protected until we meet again.
God bless all our soldiers who give so much and ask for nothing in return. Save them all from the pain of war and bring them home to their families
Good night my angel I'll see you soon.”
We will post more information as it becomes available.