Medford man's disappearance remains a mystery

The search has stalled for a Medford man who unexpectedly left all his belongings behind except for a gun and went missing somewhere outside Grants Pass.

The mother of Chase Cook, 22, is concerned for her son's safety and hopes that the public can give the police some help finding him.

How to help

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Chase Cook is asked to call the Medford Police Department at 541-770-4783.

Brenda Johnson, who lives in Ashland, said it's uncharacteristic of her son to leave without telling his family where he's going.

"It was a total surprise," she said. "He just left without locking his apartment and disappeared."

Cook was last seen June 23 at a Minute Market on East Main Street in Medford.

"He bought an energy drink at that market and that's the last anyone around here seen of him," Johnson said.

Johnson said her son has had a tough time of it since moving to Jackson County two years ago.

Cook grew up in Colorado and left his friends behind when he moved here where his mother lives. Johnson lives and works in Ashland.

"He had trouble getting established out here," she said. "He couldn't make friends and he never really found a girlfriend."

Johnson describes her son as a lost soul who spent a lot of time by himself in recent months. He was an avid gamer, who stayed up all hours of the night playing video games and eating junk food.

"He sort of let himself go," she said. "He had little money and wouldn't ask us for any. He was very independent."

Cook was recently laid off from his job at Erickson Air-Crane and was living on unemployment, Johnson said.

He left the area in his 1971 blue and white GMC pickup. It has an Oregon license plate number YUF382.

This truck was spotted outside Grants Pass late last week. It was parked along Highway 238 near Provolt. It appeared abandoned to passers-by, Johnson said.

The pickup sat along the highway for days before it mysteriously disappeared, Johnson said.

"We don't know if it broke down and took a while to fix," Johnson said.

Search-and-rescue teams combed the area looking for any sign of Cook or the pickup, but found nothing.

Meanwhile, Johnson has been papering southern Oregon with flyers bearing her son's face and an image of his pickup.

"We are hoping someone recognizes him and calls the police," she said.

Johnson said Cook recently purchased a handgun. It was the one possession he took with him when he disappeared.

"We don't think he's a threat to anyone," she said.

He left behind his cell phone, so police can't track him through any calls he would make.

"They don't know where he went after leaving the Provolt area," Johnson said. "The search has stalled until we know what direction he's headed."

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or email

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