Press Release - Tina Behneke Search Update
Release Date: 05/30/17
INCIDENT: Tina Behneke Search Update
CASE NUMBER: 17-716
INCIDENT DATE AND TIME: 5/29/17 at 8:00 am
REPORTING DEPUTY: Undersheriff Snyder
On Sunday, May 28th 2017 at approximately 7:50 pm, Oregon State Police notified the Josephine County Jail that friends of the Behneke Family reported locating Tina Behneke floating in the Illinois River approximately 100 yards downstream from the vehicle bridge at McCaleb’s Ranch.
2 deputies from the Sheriff’s Office responded to the location and contacted the reporting party. They pointed to Behneke’s location in the river. She was located on the opposite side of the river from their location.
Deputies responded to the opposite side of the river and visually confirmed it was Behneke they saw in the river. Behneke’s body was lodged on a tree and bush approximately 40’ from the rivers edge in approximately 10’ of swift water.
Due to the sun beginning to set and response time to get additional personnel and a raft to the location, it was determined a recovery would be unsafe at that time. The Sheriff’s Office elected to wait until morning to conduct a mission focused on Behneke’s recovery.
Continuation updated details:
On Monday, May 29th 2017 at 8:00 am, Josephine County Sheriff’s Office deputies, 3 Search & Rescue Volunteers and 2 members of the Rogue Valley Chaplains Association responded to Behneke’s location.
An inflatable raft was deployed with a rope system to safely reach Behneke’s. She was recovered without incident and transferred to a Grants Pass area funeral home where the State Medical Examiner could examiner her.
The family has been notified of her recovery. The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office wishes to extend condolences to Behneke’s friends and family for the loss of Tina.
On Wednesday, May 17th 2017, the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a possible drowning near Store Gulch Day Use area on the Illinois River, Selma, OR.
Upon Sheriff’s Office arrival, Illinois Valley Fire District, Rural/Metro Fire and AMR ambulance were already on scene and conducting a search of the river’s edge for the missing person.
Josephine County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue was activated to assist with the search.
It was determined Tina Behneke, a resident of Medford, Oregon was with friends and they were exploring the Illinois River. She is described as a 21 year old female, 5’ 6” 115 pounds with long black hair with brown highlights. She was last seen wearing a black Nike baseball cap, dark colored zip-up Nike hooded jacket, black & gray legging and black Nike tennis shoes.
Behneke attempted to wade across the Illinois River in shallow water at the day use area and was swept downstream by the fast moving water.
Behneke’s friends attempted to rescue her, but were unable to reach her. They lost sight of Behneke as she passed through rapids on the river.
Ground based search efforts continued until 8 pm on Wednesday when low light began to hamper searchers abilities and became a safety issue.
Search efforts resumed at 8 am on Thursday, May 18th. Ground searchers, Public Safety Divers and an underwater pole camera were utilized to attempt to locate Behneke.
Searchers were still unable to locate Behneke or any clues to indicate where she could be. The Sheriff’s Office reached out to both the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the Coos County Sheriff’s Office in an attempt to utilize their drone programs. Both agencies personnel were unavailable. At this time it is presumed Behneke drowned.
Based on information from the searchers, it has been decided to suspend search efforts at this time due to unsafe river conditions in the search area. Future search efforts will be evaluated as river conditions change.
The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office wish to express their condolences to the Behneke Family at this time for their loss.
The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Illinois Valley Fire District, Rural/Metro Fire, AMR Ambulance, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the Search & Rescue Volunteers who all assisted with search efforts.