A five-day effort to locate a missing 78-year-old Agnew man ended Saturday when his body was discovered on Kinkade Road south of Sequim.
Clallam County Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Lyman Moores said a group of people hiking to Kinkade Island saw a Jeep they thought might be stuck. Near the vehicle they found the body of Robert Goss, who had been missing since Feb. 28. Moores said a forensic pathologist listed the cause of death as hypothermia Monday.
“It doesn’t take long in these conditions in the Pacific Northwest to get hypothermia,” he said.
Goss’s sister and caregiver Mary Ann Hudson said she awoke Feb. 28 to find her car was missing and she soon realized her brother was missing, too.
Her best guess is that he wanted to go to the store and get a Coca-Cola, his favorite drink.
Though he hadn’t driven in more than a year, they often went for drives around the peninsula and out to eat and spent more time in Sequim than Port Angeles, so it doesn’t surprise her he headed east.
“He must’ve taken River Road to get into town and took a wrong turn,” she said.
Family, friends and the Sheriff’s Office searched the area, but without a starting point it was hard to know where to look.
Normally search and rescue teams know where to start because they know where the car was left or where the person was supposed to be, Moores said. In this case all they knew was Goss probably was in his sister’s Jeep, which had a quarter-tank of gas in it.
“He left in a vehicle and could’ve been almost anywhere,” Moores said.
The Sheriff’s Office coordinated flyovers with the U.S. Coast Guard and the state Emergency Management Division to search for the vehicle.
“We’d done flyovers in that area and there’s no way you would’ve spotted that vehicle from the air,” Moores said, referring to the heavy canopy of trees.
Goss had driven past the end of the paved road, around a barricade and down a muddy path into the woods by the Dungeness River.
“It was an unfortunate ending,” Moores said.
Hudson said when her brother went missing it was safe to say he was wearing his baseball hat with the word “Berlin” across the top.
Trained in German by the Army language training school, Goss spent about three years in post-World War II Germany monitoring conversations between East Germany and the Soviet Union.
“He was a translator and kind of a spy for about three or four years,” Hudson said. “That’s why the Berlin cap was so special. He felt what he was doing to maintain West Berlin was important.”
The cap was a gift from family.
Goss married a German woman while serving in the army and they had three children, Erica, Thomas and Daniel. All three are accomplished and carry on their father’s passion for literature, music and education, she said.
Goss had several college degrees in addition to teaching German in the California State university system for years, she said.
“If you asked him about anything, he knew it,” she said. “He devoured information.”
Goss moved from California to live with Hudson a little more than two years ago because he was starting to show signs of dementia and needed help with his nutrition, Hudson said.
“He fell absolutely crazy in love at this place,” Hudson said. “He got up every morning and went out to see if Mount Baker was still there. He was very happy to be here.”
Goss was awestruck the first time he went to Hurricane Ridge, she said.
He was her best friend and the two shared a sense of humor other people often didn’t understand. She misses him terribly.
“I’ll always be glad I got the opportunity to spend the last two-and-a-half years with him,” she said. “It was a treasure to me.”