Modesto man found dead near Long Barn

Christina O'Haver, The Union Democrat /

A 91-year-old missing Modesto man was found dead in the Stanislaus National Forest near Long Barn on Monday.

The Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office received a call about 9 a.m. Monday from a person who found a body while cutting wood in the forest. A sheriff's patrol deputy and coroner responded to the location off Forest Road 3N01 between Cottonwood Road and the Long Barn area.

The body, identified as that of Amos McElvaine, was found about 100 yards away from his vehicle.

Neighbors reported seeing McElvaine leave his home on the 1700 block of Kenneth Street in Modesto about 10 a.m. May 14. He was driving a 1999 Ford Ranger.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department issued a Silver Alert for McElvaine, which the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office received Saturday.

McElvaine lived with his grandson, Antoine, who moved into the home about three weeks ago and was going to school in the area.

Antoine McElvaine said his grandfather was still sleeping that morning when he left for school about 5 a.m. He said Amos never mentioned having any plans for that day and did not leave a note.

"We have not figured out why he was in that area at all," said Will McElvaine, Amos' nephew. "We can't pinpoint any business that he had up in that area that far away from home."

Will described his uncle as self-sufficient but confirmed that the man had early signs of dementia, which authorities noted in the Silver Alert.

During two trips to see his Bay Area dentist, Amos became confused and called Antoine to pick him up.

Still, family members said it was unlike Amos to wander off without notifying anyone.

He had no problems running errands around Modesto, paying bills and caring for himself, Antoine said.

Amos had lived in Modesto about 50 years, where he worked in the construction industry and was part of the Laborer's International Union of North America. He was also a World War II veteran.

Antoine said his grandfather was well-known in the community after visiting banks, restaurants and other places in the city over the years.

Antoine said that lately Amos frequented HomeTown Buffet and Perko's Cafe, and spent much of his time gardening at his home.

"He's just going to be greatly missed," Will McElvaine said. "He was a major part of all our lives."

The cause of death was unknown Tuesday afternoon, pending the completion of an autopsy.

Amos McElvaine did not appear to be missing any belongings, and there was no evidence of criminal activity, the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office said.

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The Union Democrat
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