Police investigate possible jumper

UPDATE: Body found in Willamette River

UPDATE: INDEPENDENCE — On Monday, Feb. 19, a body was recovered from the Willamette River near the Wheatland Ferry. The body has been identified as 67-year-old Mark Heppner, of Independence, who had been listed as missing on Jan. 22 after his vehicle was located unattended at the top of the Independence Bridge. Family members have been notified. An investigation by the Independence Police Department has concluded that Mr. Heppner likely jumped from the bridge shortly before his vehicle was located.

INDEPENDENCE — On Jan. 22 at 11:25 p.m., officers from the Independence Police Department responded to a report of a vehicle left unattended on the Independence Bridge that crosses the Willamette River.

Responding officers determined the driver, a 66-year-old man from Independence, likely jumped from the bridge into the Willamette River.

Officers from Independence, Monmouth, Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Oregon State Police searched the riverbanks using both night vision and thermal technology, with no success.

A boat from the Jefferson Fire Department launched from Independence and searched the river, also with no success.

Search efforts were suspended around 3 a.m. due to darkness and the extreme flow of the river.

Independence Police, assisted by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol, planned to resume searching during daylight hours on Tuesday.

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