Updated, 11:38 a.m. A Mail Tribune reporter and photographer heading to an assignment at a fire lookout recognized a man walking along Highway 66 as a Santa Barbara, Calif., man with dementia who wandered away from his family in Ashland Sunday evening.

Reporter Paul Fattig said he and photo editor Bob Pennell spotted the man walking along the guardrail about eight miles up Highway 66.

The two previously had stopped at a makeshift search headquarters in Lithia Park to get a photo and other information about Kevin Nay, 50, who had walked away from his parents on the way to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival at about 8 p.m. Sunday. Ashland police and Jackson County search and rescue had teamed up to look for Nay.

Pennell and Fattig asked the man if he was lost and he shook his head and kept walking. Then they showed him a photo of the missing person flier and he said that was him in the picture and his name was Kevin. He agreed to ride back to town with them and climbed into Pennell's truck.

“He doesn't talk much,” Fattig said. “He's a little dirty like he might have slept outside.”
Nay said he didn't know people were looking for him, but he was glad that someone had stopped for him.

“I'm fine,” he said.

Pennell and Fattig delivered Nay to authorities at the Ashland airport and he was whisked back to where searchers had gathered in Lithia Park. There he was reunited with his parents, had some water and ordered a pizza.

— Anita Burke




11:10 a.m. update: A Mail Tribune photography editor and reporter on their way to an assignment in the Greensprings believe they have found the Santa Barbara, Calif., man with dementia who has been missing since Sunday night.

The pair found Kevin Nay, 50, walking alongside Highway 66 about eight miles up toward the Greensprings, said Mail Tribune Photo Editor Bob Pennell.

The three plan to meet search and rescue workers at the Ashland airport.

— Staff reports