Media Board

Recent media releases from the Benton County Sheriff's Office are listed below. To read past media releases, go to the "Supporting Documents" section of this web page.

Update on Missing Kayakers

After a five-day search, the second missing kayaker, Mariana Dukes, was located deceased on the Long Tom River today, April 29.

Benton County Sheriff’s Office was on the scene, south of Monroe, with Mariana’s family, who recovered her body by canoe, approximately 75 yards downriver of a fish ladder in Lane County.

“Again I’d like to thank all the agencies and volunteers for their help over the last five days, as well as private property owners who willingly allowed access to the river and their resources,” stated Sheriff Jef Van Arsdall. “While we’re all processing this tragedy, we ask members of the media to allow the families space to grieve the loss of Mariana and Joseph.”

BCSO received overwhelming assistance from Lane County Sheriff's Office, Lane County Sheriff's Office Search & Rescue, Lane County Sheriff's Office Water Rescue, Linn County Water Rescue, Albany Fire & Rescue Water Rescue Team, Benton County's Mary's Peak Search & Rescue, Benton County's SkySAR Air Unit, Region 3 K9, Junction City Water District, Army Corp of Engineering, Henderson Aviation, and the City of Monroe.

Search Continues For Missing Kayaker; One Deceased Recovered

On April 25, 2022, at approximately 10:00 am, Benton County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers recovered a deceased missing kayaker on the Long Tom River near Monroe, OR. One female kayaker remains missing at this time.

On Sunday, April 24, at 8:12 pm, dispatchers received a phone call from a family member reporting the couple’s overdue arrival at the Monroe City Park. The two launched their kayaks the prior day, April 23, near Ferguson Rd, south of Monroe. Deputies immediately responded and searched the river until 11:01 pm and continued the search early Monday morning with SAR ground searchers, drones, aircraft, divers, and boats.

Just after 9:00 am on Monday, the body of Joseph Bendix (26), of Eugene, was located deceased, approximately three miles south of Monroe by an adjacent landowner. SAR members recovered his body a short time later and he was positively identified by a family member.

The search continues today for missing female Mariana Dukes (23), of Eugene. Dukes is 5’4” with blonde hair. The last know contact Dukes had with her family was on Saturday, April 23, shortly before 5:00 pm.

The 50 searchers include volunteers from nearby agencies: Linn County Sheriff’s Office, Lane County Sheriff’s Office Water Rescue Team, Albany Fire Department’s Water Rescue Team, Lane County SAR, Benton County SAR’s Volunteer Aircraft Team, K9 SAR Unit, and drones from BCSO and Albany Fire Departments.

BCSO continues to request if you see a green kayak downstream (north) from Ferguson Rd on the Long Tom River, please contact Detective David Iverson at david.iverson@co.benton.or.us or call 541-230-0984. They also would like to ask that you not respond to help search; they have trained professionals on scene.

“I’d like to thank Sheriff Harold and the members of the Lane County Sheriff’s Office for all their help during this event. Benton County SAR coordinator Kevin Higgins and the members of Benton County SAR have been amazing and I am grateful to have them as a resource to our county, along with all of the other volunteer organizations that have aided in this search,” stated Sheriff Jef Van Arsdall. “I would also like to thank the community of Monroe for their incredible grace and empathy to the family impacted by this tragedy.”

BCSO Results from March 2022 Extra Patrols

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office worked extra patrols throughout the month of March 2022.  During regular patrols and extra patrols in March, the sheriff’s office had the following activity levels: 

            Eight DUII arrests (Alcohol, drug, and/or inhalant);
            47 Driving While Suspended (arrests and citations);
            34 Driving uninsured citations;
            102 speeding citations;
            five safety belt and/or child seat citations;
            96 citations for other various violations; and
            deputies responded to 17 traffic crashes with 5 involving injuries.

Benton County Sheriff’s Office deputies will continue to work extra patrols through grant funding in 2022.  Deputies will be on the lookout for and arresting impaired drivers, stopping and issuing citations to speeding motorists, drivers using their cell phones, child safety seats and safety belt violations, and those driving without insurance or driving privileges.  Remember, if you drive without insurance or a license, you may get your vehicle towed.

Specifically, deputies will work extra grants shifts to coincide with national enforcement/blitz periods. April 2022 is Distracted Driver Awareness month; deputies will be writing tickets for this violation.

UPDATE: Deceased Body Found in Willamette River Identified

On March 31, 2022, at about 4:00 pm, Benton County Deputies recovered a deceased individual in the Willamette River near 1st and Jackson Street in Corvallis with the assistance of the Corvallis Police Department. With the assistance of the Medical Examiner’s Office, Oregon State Police Crime Lab, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, and several tips from the public, investigators were able to identify the deceased as 44-year-old James Ernest Donat of Corvallis.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the public for the tips they provided to aid in the identification of James Donat.

Benton County Sheriff’s Office Detectives continue to investigate James Donat’s death. If anyone has information as to the whereabouts of James Donat in the weeks leading up to March 31, 2022, please contact BCSO Detective Matt Moser at matthew.moser@co.benton.or.us or call 541-766-6774.

 

BCSO Seeks Assistance in Identifying a Deceased Body Found in the Willamette River

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) is seeking public assistance in identifying a deceased Caucasian male, found in the Willamette River on March 31, 2022.

At approximately 4:40 pm on Thursday, BCSO was dispatched to the area across from 1st and Jackson Street in Corvallis, on the east side of the river, for the report of a body found floating in the Willamette River. Deputies responded with their marine patrol boat where they located and recovered the body.

Investigators have provided the following description:

  • Caucasian male approximately 6’0” in height.
  • The entire upper torso of the male appeared clean-shaven, with only a small patch of hair on his chin.
  • The male had a single tattoo on his left shoulder of a cross. This appeared black with no added colors.
  • The male had what appeared to be a black compression sleeve over his left knee.
  • The male was wearing size 11.5 shoes which were gray, labeled “Kwong Wah,” with a hiking-type look.
  • The male was wearing tan cargo-style shorts.
  • No surgical type scars or obvious injuries to any part of the male’s body were located.

A Benton County Deputy Medical Examiner believes the male had been deceased for at least four days.

If you have any information that can lead to the identity of this male, please contact BCSO Detective Matt Moser at matthew.moser@co.benton.or.us or call 541-766-6774.

Benton County Jail to Reopen for In-Person Visits

On Friday, April 1, 2022, the Benton County Jail will begin in-person visitation for Adults in Custody (AIC) after the two-year suspension due to COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for all of us, and that includes our AIC population,” stated Sheriff Jef Van Arsdall. “While we have had success with our tablet virtual visit services, we look forward to returning to a sense of normalcy at the jail. As a result of the declining COVID-19 numbers, both in the jail and in the community, we have allowed visitors back into the Benton County Jail.”

Vaccinations, nor facemasks, will be required for visitors to enter the facility.

The option to visit by phone is still available. Both types of communication will count toward an AIC’s number of allowed visits per week. The full schedule and policy information can be found on the jail’s website.

For more information on visitation times and rules, please visit https://www.co.benton.or.us/sheriff/page/visiting-inmate or call 541-766-6866.