Remains of missing Boise woman Gwen Brunelle found in Malheur County

MALHEUR COUNTY – (Release from Sheriff Travis Johnson) The Malheur County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) became involved in a missing persons case on June 30th 2023. A Malheur County Sheriff’s Deputy located a vehicle parked at the south end of Succor Creek. Rd., and Hwy 95 South. After checking the vehicle’s registration, it was determined that the vehicle was linked to a Gwendolyn Brunelle who had been reported as a missing person out of Boise, Idaho.

The Malheur County Search and Rescue (SAR) team performed several searches in the area with little results. These searches included assistance from many agencies and volunteers from Oregon and Idaho. Their efforts included using cadaver dogs, drones, fixed wing aircrafts, helicopters, horses, UTV’s and ground searchers. Following extensive search operations, and after following up on numerous leads, the search was suspended pending any new information.

The Brunelle family hired a private drone operator who took video footage over a large area, including areas that had not been searched on foot. This footage was eventually sent to, and reviewed by Aloft Drone Search, which is a non-profit organization that reviews drone images.

MCSO received an email from Aloft Drone on Monday, April 8, 2024 with a picture and coordinates of what they thought could be human remains. MCSO deputies responded on that same day to the provided location.

Deputies located and recovered human remains that were eventually determined to be those of Gwendolyn Brunelle. Gwen was located just outside of the search area, approximately two miles from her vehicle. MCSO was grateful to the Brunelle’s for finding and engaging the services of Aloft Drone. This was truly a remarkable find.

On April 29, the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed through dental records that the remains belonged to Brunelle.

The Malheur County Sheriff’s Office offers condolences and gratitude to the Brunelle family. They are good-natured people and great to work with. We know this has been, and continues to be a very difficult time for this family. MCSO would like to sincerely thank all of the volunteers who helped in this search effort. There were countless hours from volunteers given in this effort. So many freely shared their time and resources in the aid of a fellow community member. These efforts are truly appreciated.