Flashback Friday: Rodney Grissom and Karen Lee

This week’s Flashback Friday case is actually two cases: Rodney Lynn Grissom, a 14-year-old who disappeared from Albany, Oregon on May 24, 1977, and Karen Jean Lee, a 15-year-old who disappeared from Cornelius, Oregon two days after Rodney. I’m guessing they were boyfriend and girlfriend.

It looks like Rodney and Karen ran away from home, but it’s likely they ran into a spot of bother not long afterward. Some of their stuff was later found off a remote logging road in Washington County, Oregon. Cornelius is a town in Washington County; Albany is in Linn County.

There has been no indication of Rodney and Karen’s whereabouts for nearly forty years now. Karen has a Facebook page about her disappearance, but there’s not much there. Rodney is listed on the NCMEC, but Karen, for some reason, is not.

10 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Rodney Grissom and Karen Lee

  1. Marshall Loveday March 25, 2016 / 5:50 pm

    Odd (or maybe not odd) that there are so few clues on their disappearance…… Were they thought of as ‘runaways’ way back then, so the authorities perhaps didn’t investigate as thoroughly as they would these days? I don’t know. I only arrived in Oregon in 2009, but I’ve found that it has quite a lot of lonely logging roads. A number of years ago, a young family on a winter time trip to the coast from Roseburg got lost, and ended up stuck in the snow, and out of gas. The road was actually supposed to be closed for the winter. Husband went out to look for help, and died from exposure. Wife and baby were thankfully found alive back at the vehicle. (And this wasn’t even in the Cascades – this happened in the coastal mountains between Roseburg and Coos Bay.)

    I suspect that for this couple, their bones will be discovered eventually. They disappeared in late May, so I doubt exposure to the elements would be an issue, although freezing temps still could have occurred, I suppose.

    • Meaghan March 25, 2016 / 10:17 pm

      I have a friend who lives in Bend, Oregon, in the high desert area. She says it gets insanely cold during the winter.

  2. Angela March 31, 2016 / 4:26 am

    Wow, Marshall, it’s unfathomable to me how someone could leave their children like that. =(

  3. retiredswo December 28, 2016 / 6:32 am

    Wow, I knew Rodney Grissom as a kid. I had no idea.

    • Kerstin Lindkvist December 12, 2017 / 1:13 pm

      Rod and Karen were abducted and with time killed. / azureblue

      • Deni Watson February 24, 2018 / 9:52 am

        How do you know this? I am Rodney’s cousin and would love any information you may have.

    • Peter Henderson Jr. July 30, 2018 / 7:34 am

      Karen Jean Lee, 15, was last seen at around 8:30 a.m. on May 26, 1977 in Cornelius, Washington County, Oregon. It is believed that Karen ran away with Rodney Lynn Grissom, 14. The two were believed to have been hitchhiking to California at the time.

      According to Rodney’s NamUs profile, Case File # 14013, personal items belonging to one or both of the teens were located in Linn County, Oregon during 1977. Investigators have stated that this finding suggests the possibility of foul play.

      Authorities know that Rodney was carrying a framed backpack with the name “R. Grissom” written on it. It has not been reported if the backpack is one of the personal items recovered.

      It should be noted that following Interstate 5, Albany, Linn County, is around 86 miles to the south of Cornelius, Washington County, and would be consistent with the teens planned route to California.

      If alive Karen Lee is now 56
      . Both she and Rodney Grissom vanished under mysterious circumstances and foul play is possible. Both cases remain – unsolved.

      • Deni Grove July 13, 2019 / 7:25 pm

        Thank you for this! I am sorry I did not know there was a response to the blog post. I am going to be digging further into this case and see if I can find anything out.

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