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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Man Drives Around For Days With Body

From Staff And Wire Reports

A southern Oregon man drove around “staying at hotels and other places” trying to decide what to do with a body in the back of his van, police said.

Robert B. Downham, of Wilderville, Ore., finally delivered the dead man to Kennewick General Hospital on Thursday, Kennewick police spokesman Mike Blatman said.

The identity of the man was being withheld until family members could be notified. An autopsy conducted Friday did not determine the cause of death. There were no outward signs of trauma, Blatman said.

It could take as long as two weeks before a toxicology report is drafted. Authorities hope that will help determine whether foul play was involved.

Downham told police he believed the man died Tuesday night but knew little else.

“He doesn’t know how he died,” Blatman said. “He wasn’t with the person (when he died).”

The dead man was, however, in Downham’s van at the time of his death, Blatman said.

Police found the body covered with a blanket in the back seat of Downham’s older model van.

“Decomposition was really starting to set in,” said Benton County Coroner Floyd Johnson. Police questioned Downham, then released him Thursday night.

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