Oregon Officials Narrow Search for Missing Priest, Friend Based on Tips

Officials said the search for a missing priest and his traveling companion is now focused on the northern part of Tillamook County, based on tips.

Tips received this weekend indicate Cheryl Gibbs, 61, and David Schwartz, 52, stopped by a cafe and a winery on June 8, officials said.

A Wheeler cafe owner told deputies that the pair stopped by late in the morning and asked her for information on the best route back to Portland, said Don Taylor, Tillamook County search and rescue coordinator.

The cafe owner gave them directions for two routes that would take them to U.S. 26 — one using the narrow, gravel Foss Road and the other taking U.S. 101 to Oregon 53 to U.S. 26. Foss Road runs through rough terrain with steep drop-offs into deep canyons, and Oregon 53 is also winding and narrow in places with several deep drainages, Taylor said.

The pair gave no indication whether they planned to take either route, Taylor said.

A clerk at the Nehalem Bay Winery also reported seeing the two.

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 midmorning on 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 had little clue where the two may have gone to, they left most of their possessions in the hotel — first leading officials to believe the active pair had gone on a daytrip.

The search then shifted to Tillamook County on Friday after family members discovered that Gibbs and Schwartz signed a guest book at the Tillamook Cheese Factory on June 8. It was the first breakthrough in a search that began a week and a half ago.

The Oregon Wing of the U.S. Civil Air Patrol will expand it's aerial search with four aircraft Sunday in support of new leads provided to the Tillamook County Sheriff.