Plane wreckage found of missing No. Calif. winery owner

May 20, 2011 6:26:02 PM PDT
In the search for a missing Northern California winery owner, the wreckage of his private plane was found late Friday afternoon in the Sierra. ABC7 heard his family had been notified that there was a body in the wreckage.

Robert "Budge" Brown, 78, left Minden, Nevada Wednesday in a single-engine aircraft. He was headed to Tracy to visit family. But radar suggested the plane went down in a remote, snow-covered area near Kirkwood Ski Resort. Air patrols spent Friday searching the entire route the plane may have taken.

"He was going to the people that he loved, and he was doing what he loved. It's great. But I miss him," said Jeff Brown, Robert's son.

Brown owns Tulip Hill Winery in Lake County and Cleavage Creek in Napa. He founded Cleavage Creek to raise money for cancer research, after his wife of 48 years died of breast cancer.

Earlier on Friday, a family attorney said Brown left the Minden-Tahoe Airport Wednesday at 4 p.m. in a single-engine aircraft bound for Tracy. The civil air patrol reported radar traces that showed the aircraft went down southwest of Lake Tahoe. Members of the air patrol, Highway Patrol and the Amador County sheriff's office conducted the search.


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