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MailTribune.com
  • Body of missing Arizona teen found near Riddle

    Remains were spotted not far from his SUV; his death is being investigated as a suicide
  • PORTLAND — The body of an Arizona teenager missing since last week was found Monday evening near the spot where his SUV was abandoned in a wooded area of Southern Oregon, a sheriff's spokesman said.
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  • PORTLAND — The body of an Arizona teenager missing since last week was found Monday evening near the spot where his SUV was abandoned in a wooded area of Southern Oregon, a sheriff's spokesman said.
    The body of 18-year-old Johnathan Croom was discovered about 1,000 feet from his vehicle, Douglas County sheriff's spokesman Dwes Hutson said in a statement. The death was being investigated as a suicide.
    Hutson didn't immediately return a call for additional comment. His statement said no more information was being released Monday night.
    His SUV was found Wednesday in Riddle, a town of 1,200 people just off the state's main north-south thoroughfare, Interstate 5.
    In a telephone interview from Oregon, David Croom said his son, of Apache Junction, was grieving the end of a recent relationship with "someone back in Phoenix."
    "He was a young man who had a broken heart and headed out to try to find himself," the elder Croom said. "We're looking forward to finding out exactly what happened."
    He thanked everyone who helped search for his son and added, "Please pray for our family."
    The teen's mother, Monica Croom, had said he was traveling alone and on his way back from Seattle, where he visited a friend. The teen was due in Arizona on Aug. 17 to start college in Mesa.
    Monica Croom's phone rang unanswered Monday night after the Sheriff's Office announced the teen's death.
    Hutson said earlier that text messages between Croom and a friend indicated Croom wanted to run away.
    Croom also 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.
    Earlier this year, a 19-year-old from Oklahoma disappeared after talking to his parents about the same book and setting out to test himself against the Oregon wilderness. Dustin Self's truck was found in April on Steens Mountain in southeast Oregon. The last search for Self was in the spring, after snow melted, but it yielded no hints to his location.
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