Witnesses sought in case of missing Ruch woman

Police searching for a Ruch woman who vanished on the Fourth of July are trying to find a group of young men who might have seen her that day.

Stephanie Ann Warner, 43, spent part of the holiday in Ashland before heading north to her home in Ruch. She saw her boyfriend at the Ruch Country Store late in the afternoon and reportedly left alone in her truck. Nobody has seen her since.

A group of men in their teens or early 20s stopped by the store in a green pickup that day between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., and detectives want to know if they saw anything that can help them find Warner, said Sgt. Nate Sickler of the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

The store is located on rural highway between Jacksonville and Grants Pass, so there shouldn't be too many groups that match the description.

"It's not like an Albertsons in a downtown area," Sickler said Wednesday.

The men were said to be heading to Applegate Lake to camp that evening and, according to police, are not considered suspects or "persons of interest" in the almost month-old mystery.

Sheriff's deputies found Warner's truck in her driveway. There were no signs of forced entry or foul play in the vehicle or the home that she shared with her boyfriend, Sickler said.

Warner did volunteer work, but was not employed at the time of her disappearance. She formerly owned a Jacksonville restaurant called Magnolia Grill, Sickler said.

Searchers with dogs have looked for signs of Warner near her property and found nothing. A second set of 16 searchers performed a grid search, walking closely together along various areas in the Applegate Valley. Another search along the Applegate River included a helicopter.

Investigators have also checked Warner's bank and phone records.

Warner is described as 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighing 135 pounds with brown eyes and red hair.

Investigators ask anyone who was at the store or has other details about the case to call the department's tip line at 541-774-8333. Leave a message with information and a detective will call back, officials said.

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