A search in rural Benton City for an elderly man ended Friday when the 73-year-old was found in the Yakima River.
Benton County sheriff's deputies began searching for the man at 6 a.m. Friday after he showed up at a home on Demoss Road, Deputy Joe Lusignan told the Herald.
The man, whose name has not been released, apparently lived nearby on Overlook Drive.
The resident who called 911 said the man claimed he was lost and didn't know how to get home, Lusignan said. It was believed he suffered from dementia.
Never miss a local story.
The woman said the man wandered off and she didn't see where he went. She then called police.
Deputies went door-to-door trying to find the man or anybody who had seen anything, Lusignan said.
The sheriff's office's marine patrol searched the river and investigators used an airplane to search from above. A K-9 unit did a track through a nearby orchard.
Deputies also sought assistance from Columbia Basin Dive Rescue and Benton Fire District 2. Citizens helped with the search on four-wheelers and horses, Lusignan said.
The marine patrol found the man's body around 11:45 a.m., but the brush prevented them from getting to him. Dive Rescue members then went in the water to retrieve the body.
The Benton County coroner was called to the scene, but no cause of death was immediately available.
Sex offender registers with new name, gender
A homeless sex offender released to Benton County last week after serving 20 years in prison has officially changed his name.
John D. Babcock, 60, identifies himself as transgender and presented documents to Benton County sheriff's officials this week that shows his legal name now is Sarah Babcock, authorities said.
Babcock was convicted in 1997 in King County of 13 counts of indecent liberties, two counts of attempted indecent liberties and one count of first-degree statutory rape. The offenses involved six young girls and one boy and occurred from 1986-88.
Babcock, who went by the name John when he was arrested in 1992, used his position as a Girl Scout leader to sexually assault two of his victims.
Babcock was sentenced to 28 years in prison and was released Feb. 14 from the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla after serving about 20 years.
Babcock did not participate in sex offender treatment programs while in prison. He is classified as a Level 3 sex offender, meaning his is considered by law enforcement officials as being highly likely to reoffend.
Babcock is not wanted by police, but is required to tell them where he is living. He is registered as a transient in Benton County, which means he doesn't have a permanent address. He is required to make weekly check-ins at the sheriff's office.