A Husum woman with health issues went for a hike and disappeared last month. Her body was found and retrieved a few days later.
On May 24, the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office received a report that Ruth Elsasser-Kolberg, a 42-year-old female, was missing from her residence in the Husum area. The missing woman was reported to have health issues that were of concern and was also known to go hiking on the trails around her residence.
Deputy Mitch Kegley responded to investigate the call. Volunteers with the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue were called in and assisted with searching the area. Several Search and Rescue dog teams were used to assist in searching for the missing person. The area around the residence was steep and difficult to navigate. Attempts were made to locate the woman based on her cell phone’s location but were unsuccessful.
On May 25, Undersheriff Tim Neher, Sergeant Fred Killian, and Deputy Erik Beasley responded back to the residence. Beasley deployed a Sheriff’s Office drone to search the harder-to-reach areas. Additional searchers and dog teams returned to the scene to continue searching for the missing person.
On May 26, searchers returned to the area to continue the search.
Detective Jason Ritoch and Detective Robert Bianchi were assigned to investigate the case and spent the next several days speaking to family and friends.
On June 3, a neighbor of the missing person located a body at the bottom of a steep cliff, a short distance from her residence. Ritoch responded but was unable to reach the body due to the steep terrain. He arranged with the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue volunteers for a rope rescue team to respond the next morning to assist with recovering the body. Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office Posse volunteers were called in to maintain security of the scene until Search and Rescue volunteers could return the next morning.
On June 4, Search and Rescue returned to the scene and used a high-angle rope rescue team to recover the body. Once the person had been identified as the missing person, family members were notified.
Ritoch is continuing to investigate the case.