Missing Priest, Friend Found Dead in Oregon

The search for a missing Jesuit priest and a woman friend from California ended Sunday when searchers found their car and their bodies in a ditch off Highway 26 in northwest Oregon.

The Civil Air Patrol spotted the pair's car at 2 p.m. Sunday, roughly 25 miles east of Seaside, said Sheriff Todd Anderson of Tillamook County.

A Clatsop County deputy then found the bodies of David Schwartz, 52, and Cheryl Gibbs, 61. Anderson said it appeared that Schwartz and Gibbs had been traveling east toward Portland when they veered off the road and rolled once or twice.

The car, a 2005 Toyota Corolla, came to a stop 20 yards from the highway in an area not visible to other motorists, said Sheriff Tom Bergin of Clatsop County. Highway 26 is well-traveled this time of year, with people driving to and from the coast.

Tom Mulligan, Schwartz's brother-in-law, was at the scene in Clatsop County and told KATU-TV that the family felt relief. "We wanted some kind of resolution to this," he said. "And our prayers were answered."

The search focused on the coast after it was learned that the pair had signed a guest book at the Tillamook Cheese Factory on June 8, the last day the pair were seen. Multiple rescue teams had been scouring back county roads by foot and from the air since Friday afternoon.

Police believe Schwartz, a Jesuit priest from Garden Grove, Calif., and Gibbs, a county employee from Union City, Calif., left their hotel room at the Best Value Inn & Suites-Fortniter in Portland on the morning of June 8.

The two were expected to travel to several other locations on their way back to California but never appeared to return to the hotel.

Officials initially had little clue where the two had gone. The pair left most of their possessions in the hotel, leading officials to believe the pair had gone on a day trip.