Man Found Dead in Oregon Zoo Rhino Zone After Being Missing for Days

A Portland family is demanding answers after a man in his 60s was found dead in a construction site at Oregon Zoo after being missing for two days.

Carl Stanley Ross Sr., 62, was found dead on Monday morning inside an area of the zoo that is being made to house a black rhino from next year. Officers responded to the scene, on Southwest Canyon Road, shortly before 10 a.m., the Portland Police Bureau said in a release.

Investigators confirmed the victim was missing since last Saturday (August 10) and said no animals had been in the construction zone at the time of the incident. The state medical examiner is currently on the case but has not yet determined the cause of death.

The victim's relatives told KPTV that Ross went missing while attending a live concert at the zoo on Saturday evening with a friend. Security did not conduct a search at the time, they alleged. The man's body was found by a construction worker, Oregon Live reported.

Ross went to the zoo to watch a concert that was headlined by George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic. He was later reported missing by his family. Police said they do not suspect foul play but the incident remains under investigation.

An Oregon Zoo spokesperson told Newsweek records did not indicate anyone was searching for Mr. Ross on the night of the concert. "We are currently interviewing all staff and volunteers who were working the event that evening in an effort to learn more," a statement said.

Family members claimed more could have been done.

"I believe, had they looked sooner, when the friend said he was missing, my brother may be alive right now," Ross's sister Perlia Bell told KPTV. "I think somewhere, the ball got dropped. Now we have a daughter without a father, a wife that can't even come talk on television because she's so distraught. And, we have a son that's in the Army [who is] flying in to bury his father."

In a full statement, an Oregon Zoo spokesperson said: "We have no record of a missing person being reported to zoo security the night of the concert—however, we are currently interviewing all staff and volunteers who were working the event that evening.

"Our security team acted as soon as they were notified by police, which was the following day (August 11) at around 8:30 p.m.

"Portland Police left our safety manager a voicemail with a description of a missing person, and asked the zoo to call them if we had any information, which at the time we did not. The voicemail did not indicate that this person might still be on zoo grounds and was not presented to us as urgent. Our public safety manager gave the police description to staff, advising them to be on the lookout. Security did not see anyone during their closing rounds.

"The following morning (August 12), a deceased person was discovered by construction contractors inside a fenced-off hardhat area, as the contractors were resuming their normal work week. The person could not be seen from outside the active construction zone. Police were called and the person was later confirmed to be Mr. Ross.

"The Oregon Zoo community is shocked and saddened by this news and our hearts go out to Mr. Ross's family and loved ones. We have limited information at this point and are not speculating as to what may have happened, but we are cooperating with Portland Police."

Charlene Menefee, the victim's cousin, noted that key details are still a mystery, including how Ross ended up in the habitat. "We need to find out what really happened to him," she said.

Investigators have appealed for anyone with information to contact the non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333. No more information is being released at this time, Portland police noted.

This article has been updated with comment from an Oregon Zoo spokesperson.