This undated photo provided by Monica Croom shows her son, 18-year-old Johnathan Croom, found dead in Oregon.
(Photo: AP/Monica Croom)
An Arizona teenager found dead near his abandoned SUV in the woods of southern Oregon had been intrigued with the movie Into the Wild about a young man who goes into the wilderness, according to his father.
The body of Johnathan Croom, 18, was found Monday about 1,000 feet from where his vehicle was found last week in Riddle, a town of 1,200 people just off the state's main north-south thoroughfare, Interstate 5, Douglas County sheriff's spokesman Dwes Hutson saidin a statement.
His death is being investigated as a suicide, the statement said.
Hutson said that text messages between Croom and a friend indicated the teenager wanted to run away and "leave his current life behind."
In a telephone interview from Oregon, David Croom, the boy's father, told the Associated Press that his son was grieving the end of a recent relationship with "someone back in Phoenix."
"He was a young man who had a broken heart and headed out to try to find himself," the elder Croom said. "We're looking forward to finding out exactly what happened."
He thanked everyone who helped search for his son and added, "Please pray for our family." The father said he had no specifics on a cause of death.
The teen's mother, Monica Croom, had said her son was traveling alone and on his way back from Seattle, where he had visited a friend. The teen was due in Arizona on Aug. 17 to start college in Mesa.
Before the body was found, David Croom told KXAS-TV in Phoenix that Johnathan had been talking to a friend about Into the Wild and had said "that it would be great to just leave penniless and just work along the way and get resources like they did in the movie."
The movie, and book of the same name by Jon Krakauer, documents how 24-year-old Virginia native Christopher McCandless gave up his worldly goods to live in the Alaska wilderness, only to die there, perhaps from eating wild potatoes.
Earlier this year, a 19-year-old from Oklahoma disappeared after talking to his parents about the same book and setting out to test himself against the Oregon wilderness.
Dustin Self's truck was found in April on Steens Mountain in southeast Oregon. The last search for Self was in the spring, after snow melted, but it yielded no hints to his location.
Contributing: Associated Press