Stephanie Warner cold case reopened after suspected human tissue found

RUCH, Ore. – A Jackson County cold case that’s nearly a decade old has been reopened.

On July 4th, 2013, Stephanie Ann Warner of Ruch disappeared after Ashland’s 4th of July parade. During the parade, she was reportedly with her boyfriend, Lennie Ames.

Back in 2017, detectives said Ames was the prime suspect and the last person to see Warner, but despite investigators’ efforts, there have been no arrests in the case.

NBC5 News interviewed Ames and his son back in 2013, shortly after Warner’s disappearance. They said they have no idea where Warner could be. Ames has been the only person of interest in the case and left the area years ago to live in Georgia.

Eventually, investigators came to believe Stephanie was the victim of a homicide and her body was left in the Applegate area. However, the case went cold due to a lack of leads.

That all changed on Monday, May 1, 2023, when a mushroom hunter found what is believed to be human hair and tissue near Warner’s home in the 9000 block of Highway 238.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said the tissue was sent to the Oregon State Police Forensics Laboratory to obtain a positive identification.

“Investigators have been going through the entire [Warner] case reviewing police reports, re-listening to recorded interviews, and re-examining the evidence,” JCSO said. “Southern Oregon High Tech Crime Task Force is using advanced technology to examine the digital evidence including computers, and cell phones.”

Anyone with information about Stephanie’s disappearance is asked to contact Sergeant Jesse Ainsworth at (541) 774-6816.

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