Norton Gulch

A sign near the Norton Gulch Trail where a 17-year-old Ian Spalding was last seen. 

Support local journalism by subscribing today! Click Here to see our current offers.

COOS COUNTY — On Monday afternoon, the Coos County Sheriff’s Office announced the suspension of a search for 17-year-old Ian Spalding near Sunset Bay.

On Sunday night around 8 p.m. the department received a call about a male teen who had fallen off a rock while with two friends. That was the last time he was seen.

The location where Spalding fell was near Norton Gulch and a press release stated that Spalding struck his head during the fall. A witness noted that he was in and out of consciousness while in the ocean. Spalding was a junior at North Bend High School and member of the Bulldogs' football and baseball teams.

After a night of searching that was restarted at first light, efforts to continue the search were suspended on Monday afternoon around 3 p.m.

“We have used every available asset, we’ve run every avenue until it’s — multiple times repeatedly," said Bryan Valencia, a deputy with the CCSO who was also serving as Search and Rescue coordinator. "We’ve had air assets, boats, divers in the water and at one point we had (over 100) people, friends and family, out here searching and helping. Just a tremendous outpouring from the community.

“Unfortunately, we just have no further avenues that we can investigate at this time. We’ll be here if the family calls and we’ll be the first ones out to look again if they find something or see something, but at this point we’re going to suspend our search.”

Earlier in the day, the U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search around 10 a.m.

“At this point we’ve run every trail that we could possibly put people on from Sunset Beach all the way to Cape Arago State Park," Valencia said. "We actually had a few handfuls of people that were actually out at Sunset Beach and Lighthouse Beach on the other side of the point. That’s a tremendous search area and it’s a steep, hilly, brushy terrain. So I’m glad that we had the resources that we did. We are just at the end of what we’re able to do."

Before announcing the suspension, the Coos County Sheriff’s Office talked with the subject’s family near Shore Acres State Park. This area had been a hub throughout the day where local police and fire and rescue converged.

Volunteers brought snacks and water for those that were taking part in the search process and as the search was suspended in the afternoon a group of about 15 high school students sat on tables in the area.

“We become personally invested in these and it’s hard on us," Valencia said. "When we’re here we tend to poker face and do our job and stuff, but you can see, there are kids out here. It’s a hard situation. And unfortunately, it ended the way it ended today.

“It’s a really hard day. It’s a really hard day. It’s the kind of days that we don’t like having. We do the best that we can do when we’re here and unfortunately today it wasn’t in the cards.”

Reporter Zachary Silva can be reached at 541-266-6036 or by email at


The World's Latest E-Edition

Connect With Us

Email Newsletters

Load comments