Ragsdale's body found above Lithia Park
A two-day, exhaustive effort to locate missing distance runner Todd Ragsdale ended in tragedy this afternoon when his body was found by search and rescue workers above Lithia Park.
Jackson County Sheriff Corey Falls said Ragsdale's body was found between 1:30 and 1:45 p.m. by search teams.
"After extensive search efforts we have discovered the body that we believe is Mr. Todd Ragsdale, deceased, up in the watershed area," Falls said.
Falls declined to comment on the cause of death until an investigation is complete, but said there was no evidence of foul play.
Jackson County sheriff's Sgt. Shawn Richards said Ragsdale's body was found at the edge of Ashland Creek upstream from the Granite Street reservoir.
The discovery ended a search effort involving dozens of search and rescue workers from eight counties and more than 100 runners familiar with the trails above Lithia Park.
Ragsdale, 46, who was nursing a hamstring injury, had gone on a light run or hike Thursday morning wearing a light jacket and running shorts. His dark green Honda Element was found at a parking lot above Lithia Park and he was reported missing Thursday afternoon.
Members of Southern Oregon Runners came out in droves to look for Ragsdale, some of them continuing their search overnight. Two helicopters and search dogs were also used in the effort to find Ragsdale as temperatures plummeted to near freezing in the nighttime hours.
"The outpouring of support — from other counties, other sheriff's offices, local citizens, the running community — has been phenomenal, and we thank all of them for taking part in this," Falls said.
Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.