Oregon divers travel across US to help solve cold cases
Two divers from Oregon have spent the past two years traveling across the United States trying to resolve fatal cases of colds. The pair have helped find answers to more than two dozen cases so far and most recently recovered the vehicle and remains of former Cornelius Mayor Ralph Brown, who disappeared last year. last.
The two Oregonians, Jared Leisek and Doug Bishop, are the faces behind Adventures with Purpose, a YouTube channel with over 2 million subscribers. The chain started with just Leisek, picking up trash and forgotten phones from the bottom of lakes and rivers.
He soon teamed up with Bishop, who was running a towing business at the time, to help him recover a vehicle he fell on during one of his dives.
“This vehicle quickly led us to remove 30 vehicles locally in the city of Portland,” Bishop said.
Bishop said many cars that can be found in bodies of water have links to insurance fraud by people claiming their vehicle was stolen.
On a May 2020 trip, they pulled a vehicle out of the Willamette River in Milwaukie, Oregon, and found something unexpected.
“We are raising a vehicle, which we thought was just another one of those stolen vehicles,” Bishop said. “We realised, unfortunately, that there were human remains inside.”
The team immediately called the authorities.
“There’s a lot of shock,” Bishop said. “At this time, it’s a crime scene.”
The remains were later identified as Timothy Robinson, who was missing for 12 years.
Since then, Adventures with Purpose has focused entirely on cold cases involving missing people and vehicles.
Bishop said limited resources and a lack of leads from local authorities are what make these cases cold and allow divers to investigate them.
“These are cases that law enforcement and other agencies have deemed unworkable,” he said.
To find these vehicles submerged in bodies of water, the team uses a sonar intended for fishing.
“We were teaching ourselves to read sonar in a way that we didn’t know there was no school or training for,” Bishop said. “In a weird way, we’re organic sonar-reading experts.”
Divers use a mix of down imaging, live scope and side scans to create a picture of what lies at the bottom of waterways. They look at the depth change and what the shape of a car might be.
Bishop had never been a diver before joining the team, but he said he was glad to have given up towing.
“The diving I do is really extreme and intense but I love it,” he said. “It brings answers to families across the country.”
For more on Think Out Loud’s conversation with Doug Bishop, click the “play” button at the top of the page.