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Authorities locate body near missing man’s car

UPDATED: Fri., Nov. 30, 2012, 5:14 p.m.

Authorities believe they have located the body of a Spokane Valley man with dementia who has been missing since Nov. 23.

The Spokane County Medical Examiner is expected to officially confirm the body is that of 71-year-old Samuel H. Counts.

The body was located about a quarter mile away from the vehicle that Counts had been driving, according to Spokane County sheriff’s spokeswoman Deputy Craig Chamberlin.

Spokane County sheriff’s pilots with Air-1 spotted the vehicle deep in the woods southeast of Elk, Wash, Friday afternoon.

The aerial search began Thursday to check rural areas of Spokane County. Family told police Counts was last seen going to the store on Nov. 23, but he never returned.

Earlier today, Chamberlin said Counts lived near Elk about 20 years ago and they would be focusing their Air-1 search efforts in that area today.

After Counts’ Kia sedan was located this afternoon, sheriffs officials called in bloodhounds used by local search and rescue crews to try to locate Counts.

This story is developing and will be updated.