Campsite searched in disappearance case

Stephanie Warner's boyfriend, who has been co-operative in probe, named 'person of interest'

The boyfriend of a missing Ruch woman has been named a "person of interest" in her mysterious disappearance on July 4.

Jackson County sheriff's investigators say they believe Lennie Laverne Ames, 60, has vital information regarding the sudden disappearance of Stephanie Anne Warner, 43.

Ames was Warner's boyfriend at the time of her disappearance and was the last known person to have seen her on July 4, according to a Sheriff's Department release.

On Thursday, deputies and a search and rescue team searched a wooded area on Bureau of Land Management property near a campsite recently occupied by Ames, the release said.

Jackson County sheriff's investigators previously searched Ames' travel trailer and vehicles at the campsite. Several items were collected as evidence in that search, the release said.

More evidence was collected Wednesday at Warner's home in the 9000 block of Highway 238, it said.

Jackson County sheriff's Detective Eric Henderson said investigators have been in regular contact with Ames throughout the nearly two-month investigation. Henderson described Ames as being cooperative.

"We named him a person of interest because we can't definitively clear him of her disappearance," Henderson said.

Ames cannot be labeled a suspect in a crime because Warner has not been found, Henderson said.

"These are difficult cases because she literally disappeared off the face of the Earth," Henderson said. "We have no sign or activity from her at all since she was last seen by Ames."

Warner was spotted marching in Ashland's Independence Day parade on behalf of the Jackson County Fuel Committee.

Following the event, she vanished and no cellphone or bank account activity has been noted, Henderson said.

Warner was not known to randomly take off from her home or family for extended periods, Henderson said.

"In fact, the opposite is true," he said. "She was making future plans to do things locally. There's no evidence to suggest that she planned to take off and leave."

Warner's family, who lives in Louisiana, called to report the disappearance. Her family told police it was unlike her to go without contact for a lengthy period of time.

Henderson declined to discuss what evidence was seized at Ames' campsite and Warner's home.

"We hold out hope, and the family holds out hope, that she will be found alive," Henderson said. "We cannot completely discount the possibility that she is alive."

Warner has brown eyes and red hair, stands 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 135 pounds. She was wearing black pants and a pink tank top when she was seen at the parade.

Missing person fliers state that Warner typically wears a small, metal cross necklace fashioned of nails and bronze wire strung on a long black cord. Her tattoos include a green peacock on her left thigh, a woman's face in profile with a large butterfly in her hair on her right thigh, and a pink flowered vine with an owl sitting on it on her right ankle, Henderson said.

Anyone who has information about her disappearance is asked to call the Jackson County Sheriff's Office tip line at 541-774-8333 or email CID@jacksoncounty.org.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.


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