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Missing Ariz. teen found dead in Oregon

Posted: August 27, 2013 - 12:00am
This undated photo provided by Monica Croom shows her son, 18-year-old Johnathan Croom.  Authorities on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 were searching for the missing Arizona teenager whose car was found abandoned in southwest Oregon. (AP Photo/Courtesy Monica Croom)  Uncredited
Uncredited
This undated photo provided by Monica Croom shows her son, 18-year-old Johnathan Croom. Authorities on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 were searching for the missing Arizona teenager whose car was found abandoned in southwest Oregon. (AP Photo/Courtesy Monica Croom)

PORTLAND, Ore. — The body of an Arizona teenager missing since last week was found Monday evening near the spot where his SUV was abandoned in a wooded area, a southern Oregon sheriff’s office said.

The body of 18-year-old Johnathan Croom was discovered about 1,000 feet from his vehicle, Douglas County sheriff’s spokesman Dwes Hutson said in a statement. The death was being investigated as a suicide.

Hutson didn’t immediately return a call for additional comment.

The teen had talked with his parents about the book “Into the Wild” and told a friend he wanted to run away.

Croom’s SUV was found Wednesday in Riddle, a town of 1,200 people just off the state’s main north-south thoroughfare, Interstate 5.

His mother has said he was traveling alone and on his way back from Seattle, where he visited a friend. Croom was due in Arizona on Aug. 17 to start college in Mesa.

Hutson had said that text messages between Croom and a friend indicated Croom wanted to run away.

Croom also talked to his parents about Christopher McCandless, whose journey to Alaska was documented in the book “Into the Wild.” McCandless gave up his worldly goods to live in the Alaska wilderness, only to die there, perhaps from eating wild potatoes.

“I think we have kind of a combination there,” Hutson said earlier Monday. “He talked with his parents about ‘Into the Wild,’ and in text messages we’ve looked at, he does specifically talk about running away, kind of just running away from his life.”

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