Update on deceased person found in Stanislaus River

From Modesto Police Department

Shortly after 1:00 PM yesterday, Ripon Police and Fire personnel responded to a call of a person floating in the Stanislaus River near Ripon, CA.

Photo credit: Modesto Bee


Deputies from the Stanislaus County Sheriff Department also responded due to the river being the border between Stanislaus and San Joaquin County. Ripon Fire personnel were able to recover the person from the water and he was found to be an elderly, Caucasian male. He was deceased and appeared to have been in the water for an extended period of time.

Investigators from the Modesto Police Department also responded to the scene because the person fit the description of Gary Johnson from Modesto who was still reported as an at-risk missing person. This afternoon, Modesto Police Identification Technicians were able to positively identify the deceased person as Gary Johnson.

Johnson was reported missing on April 1st, 2017 from northeast Modesto which initiated an extensive search. He was considered at risk due to suffering from dementia. Officers, Cadets and Volunteers were sent out in teams on multiple occasions and searched the community for Johnson. Missing persons investigators have continued to follow-up on reported sightings which were later determined to be false.

At this time, it is unknown how long Johnson was in the water or where he entered the river. The death investigation is being handled by the Stanislaus County Sheriff Department.

If you have any information regarding this incident, please call the Stanislaus County Sheriff Department at (209) 525-7000 or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward. Tipsters may also text information to Crime Stoppers at 274637. Just type “TIP704” along with your message.


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