VALE, Ore. (KTVB) - An Oregon family is grieving after their son and brother was found dead in his yard Sunday afternoon.

Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe said 30-year-old Matthew Allan Johnson was trying to rescue two puppies from a hole when the dirt collapsed, trapping and killing Johnson. Johnson grew up in the small town of Vale, where much of his family lives.  Sheriff Brian Wolfe  On Sunday, two of Johnson's puppies were caught in a hole in his yard.

Wolfe said Johnson was trying to rescue the dogs when the hole collapsed on him. Johnson could not escape. According to reports, a friend of Johnson's has been trying to reach him by cell phone. When he couldn't get ahold of his friend, he went to check on Johnson's home.

That's when he found what had happened. Wolfe described it as Johnson was upside down in the dirt, with only his legs showing. The sheriff said Johnson likely suffocated, possibly from the weight of the dirt on his chest. The two puppies in the hole lived, and they were reunited with their mother and three other litter mates.