Man Sends Friend A Cryptic Text Before Vanishing Into Thin Air. One Year Later, They Find His Body — In The Woods
A West Seattle man who went missing nearly a year ago has been declared dead months after hikers discovered his remains on the bank of the Columbia River near Altoona.
62-year-old Richard Donald Arneson was last seen alive at the Westwood shopping center in West Seattle last February.
Arneson’s friends and family reportedly began to worry about his safety on February 5, 2016, when he failed to show up to work.
A friend quickly went to check on Arneson and discovered that his front door had been left open, though it’s impossible to say exactly how long it had been that way.
Although authorities opened a missing person case, they found no evidence of foul play in Arneson’s disappearance.
According to Komo News, the same friend who went to check on Arneson also received a text from him that simply read: “My luck has run out.”
"According to an online missing persons database and several Seattle media accounts, Arneson was last seen at a Bank of America ATM in the Westwood shopping center in West Seattle on Feb. 4, 2016. Arneson’s friends and family got worried after he failed to show up for his job in Kent on Feb. 5. That day, a friend went to check on him at his West Seattle apartment, and discovered that he was gone, and the door was open. There were no signs of foul play, but police did open a missing persons case. Later that day, the same friend received the troubling text message," the Chinook Observer reported.
According to court records, Arneson may have fallen on hard times before his disappearance and his landlord filed an eviction notice at the end of February 2016.
Arneson reportedly loved the outdoors and was dressed in hiking clothes when his remains were found.
Wahkiakum County Prosecutor and Coroner Dan Bigelow said it seems as if Arneson likely went out into the wooded area voluntarily before his death.
“It seems to me that if you are going to murder somebody, dressing them up in rain pants and throwing them in a river from West Seattle would be an overly complicated way of going about things,” Bigelow said. “You’d have to be an elaborate thinker to do things that way.”
“‘My luck has run out’ is a weird last set of words to say,” he added. “It sounds to me more like despair than fear.”
Authorities are now working to find out Arneson’s official cause of death.
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