Missing Michael Lanpheare, Newport, may have been pushed off rocks just south of Seal Rock. Suspect arrested.
Wednesday morning at about 7am, Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a nude male covered in blood walking along Highway 101 in Seal Rock. The subject was located and identified as Donald Richard Lawyer III, age 35 from Pennsylvania. Deputies determined Lawyer was possibly under the influence of drugs and also displayed minor bleeding wounds. Lawyer was uncooperative but he was transported to the Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport by deputies. Lawyer was treated for minor injuries and hypothermia. A medical evaluation determined he was under the influence of controlled substances.
Mr. Lawyer left the hospital prior to a mental health evaluation and was later located at a residence in Newport where he was taken into police protective custody and returned the hospital for a mental health evaluation. Following the evaluation Mr. Lawyer was arrested by deputies and lodged at the Lincoln County Jail for Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree with a bail set at $10,000.00.
Further investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Lawyer’s conduct in Seal Rock revealed that he was connected to the disappearance of Michael Ryan Lanpheare, age 35 of Newport. The Lincoln County Major Crime Team was activated and a search was conducted of the beach and surf area of Seal Rock near Seal Rock State Park. Lincoln County Search and Rescue, The US Coast Guard and State Parks Department assisted the Major Crime Team in the efforts to locate Mr. Lanpheare, which was unsuccessful. The investigation, statements made by Lawyer, and search of the area did produce evidence, which led to the arrest of Mr.Lawyer for Manslaughter in the Second Degree with a total bail set at $300,000.00.
The search for Michael Lanpheare continues with emphasis along the Oregon shoreline of Lincoln County. A Coast Guard helicopter has been seen making long slow passes along the beaches in the Seal Rock area.