By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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The body of Brian Jennings, who was reported missing Christmas Day, was discovered late Tuesday in a car that had gone over an embankment on Cape George Road just north of Huckleberry Place by George Eims, who is married to Jennings' sister.
“I'm amazed that nobody saw the car or heard this when it happened,” said Eims of Gardiner. “The car landed right in someone's backyard.”
The car was found at a point between where Jennings was house-sitting and his trailer, which is located near Discovery Road and Second Street.
The car, a Subaru Legacy wagon, was found over the embankment and was not visible from either the road or the house because of a fence between the woods and the house, which is located on Quinault Loop in the Cape George community.
“The car was found in an area that both deputies and family members had searched several times before,” said Jefferson County Chief Criminal Deputy Joe Nole, “but it was wedged between some trees and the hill, and wasn't visible from the road.”
The car would have been visible from the house, but homeowners likely were on vacation, Nole said, adding that deputies attempted to contact the owners of the adjacent houses but were told they all were on vacation.
George Eims found his brother-in-law's body after noticing skid marks on the road and a break in the vegetation.
He said he had driven up and down Cape George Road several times but had not searched the area where the car was found because he assumed it would have been seen by residents.
An autopsy is planned today, Nole said.
Jennings was last seen Dec. 22 by his sister, Heather Eims.
He had told her he was going to deliver Christmas presents that afternoon, she said.
The undelivered presents were found in the back of the car, George Eims said.
Heather Eims reported her brother missing Christmas Day.
Sheriff's deputies subsequently searched the Discovery Road area up to the Port Townsend city limit.
In addition, a 14-person search-and-rescue team was dispatched Dec. 30 but also found nothing, Nole said.
Nole said there was no way to determine exactly how long the car had been in the woods, but the rust on the car “indicated that it had been there awhile.”
Prior to the discovery of the vehicle, Heather Eims said Jennings had had heart problems and theorized that he could have suffered a heart attack and gone off the road.
George Eims said he felt a sense of relief when he discovered the body.
“Brian had four brothers and two sisters, and we were all hoping that he would be found alive,” he said.
“But after eight days, that didn't seem likely.”
Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.