GRANTS PASS, Ore.– Police believe they have found the body of Hollywood actor Charles Levin, 70, who went missing several weeks ago along with his dog and car.
Late Saturday night, search and rescue teams were tipped about a car, fitting the description of Levin’s orange 2012 Fiat, found on an impassable road off of Deer Creek Road northeast of Selma. The individual who found it led teams to the car where they discovered Levin’s dog Boo Bear deceased inside.
Josephine County SAR says the discovery of Levin’s car was like finding a needle in a haystack. Deputy Maria Valdez who was on the search teams said the area was in such a remote location that even their own GPS devices at times would lose service.
Valdez expanded saying many of the rural roads are not suitable for every vehicle and even the agency’s own vehicles had difficulty getting to the car. Once they reached the Fiat, it appeared to have gotten stuck on the road.
Teams began to search the area and soon found a body at the bottom of what was estimated to be around a 100-foot slope – a distance away from the car’s location. However, the body was unidentifiable due to its condition.
In light of the circumstances, police believe this is Levin and according to Grants Pass Department of Public Safety Deputy Chief Jim Hamilton, there is no reason to suspect foul play was involved.
But there are still many questions police don’t have the answers to.
“What led the vehicle to be located where it was, we just don’t know,” said Hamilton. “The hardest part is to put all the pieces of the puzzle together when you don’t have all the pieces. So right now that’s what we’re trying to do is to find out what was that route? Where was he at? What was going on?”
While those questions are waiting to be answered, in cases like a car getting stuck in a remote area, search and rescue say there are several things you can do to prepare yourself. From bringing lots of water and snacks to leaving a sleeping bag in the car and telling someone where you’re going, these steps can help ensure your safety.
“The most important thing people need to do is have a plan and tell somebody,” said Valdez. “Have a specific time, if I’m not back at this certain time, call 911, call for help.”
SAR also suggest waiting by your car rather than walking away. There’s a higher likelihood you will be found.
Levin’s family flew in from Los Angeles on Monday to meet with investigators to discuss the update in the case. They requested not to be interviewed at this time.
Police are waiting for a final confirmation from the medical examiner if the remains found are Charles Levin but an autopsy may not be available until next week.
NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.
Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.