'This case has been strange from the start'

Search continues for missing Ruch woman; 'person of interest' leaves Southern Oregon

Jackson County Search and Rescue crews have continued their efforts to find a missing Ruch woman — while an Applegate Valley man, named as a "person of interest" related to the disappearance of Stephanie Anne Warner, has left the area, detectives said.

Warner, 43, was last seen at the Fourth of July parade in Ashland.

The brown-eyed, red-haired, 5-foot-2-inch, 135-pound woman was wearing black pants and a pink tank top at the event, said Detective Eric Henderson.

"We've been busy on this case from day one," Henderson said. "This case has been strange from the start. And it seems to be getting stranger."

There is no indication Warner left the area, Henderson said. There has been no activity on her bank account, and her vehicle has been at the Sheriff's office since July 9, he said.

Warner's boyfriend, Lennie Laverne Ames, 60, was staying at Warren's home at the time of her disappearance and after. Initially deemed cooperative, Ames was named a "person of interest" in late August. He has since left the area for northern Oregon, Henderson said.

"Basically, we're not in communication with him," Henderson said. "We know where he is. But we're not talking to him about the case. We are doing a lot of searching."

Detectives and search-and-rescue crews have repeatedly searched Warner's home and surrounding area to no avail, Henderson said.

Crews were out Friday and again on Wednesday checking locations Warren was known to frequent either by herself or with others, he said.

"The Applegate Valley is such a huge, vast area," Henderson said. "You go down one dirt road and it splits off into more."

In late August, the sheriff's office partnered with friends, family and people who worked with Warner to distribute fliers in an attempt to shake loose information about her disappearance. But leads have been few in the case.

"We only got a few leads," Henderson said. "Unfortunately, none of them led anywhere."

Anyone with information about Warner's disappearance is asked to call the sheriff's tip line at 541-774-8333 or email CID@jacksoncounty.org.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or sspecht@mailtribune.com.

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