Man Reported to Have Died at Marijuana Grow, Possibly Related to Ventilation Issues

Last night, Mendocino County deputies were dispatched to a fatality. The young man was reported to have died in a poorly ventilated travel trailer near a generator and a greenhouse containing marijuana. Interestingly, almost exactly a year ago, two young men were found dead in a greenhouse near Laytonville.

Press release provided by Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office:

Mendocino SheriffOn 5-14-2015 around 7:00 PM Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies, Ambulance Personnel from Laytonville Fire, along with Cal Fire were dispatched to the intersection of Iron Peak Road and Spy Rock Road in Laytonville related to a possible deceased person at the location. Fire and Ambulance personnel arrived first where they found two individuals in a vehicle. One person was found unresponsive in the rear of the vehicle and pronounced deceased at 7:18 PM. This person was later identified as Gerald Vitelli, 22 years of age, out of Fullerton California.

Deputies who responded to the scene described the second individual as somewhat evasive when inquiries were made into the circumstances related to Vitelli’s death. Deputies then summoned the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Detectives Unit to the scene to conduct further investigation.

Detectives could not determine the cause of death, saw no obvious signs of foul play and eventually found the second person may have been concerned about his and Vitelli’s involvement in a marijuana growing operation. The witness then agreed to take deputies to the scene where Vitelli was reported to have died. The location was a remote area in the 7000 Block of Simmerly Ranch Road, Laytonville CA.

There Detectives found a small marijuana growing operation consisting of one small greenhouse, a travel trailer, and a second area used as sleeping quarters for Vitelli and the witness. Detectives located a small generator near the entrance of the sleeping quarters and noted the quarters were not well ventilated. There were no obvious signs of foul play at the scene and the witness was released.

The cause of death is currently under investigation with an autopsy scheduled for 05-15-2015 to include a Blood Alcohol and Toxicology analysis. The marijuana growing operation was not eradicated and no charges related to the garden are anticipated at this time.



  • Didn’t think about the ventilation,that’s to bad for the family’s so sorry god bless

  • Where’s CalOSHA when you need ’em. Tisk, tisk, tisk.

  • Intresting ly it sounds as if they didn’t perform autopsy on the two young men that died this time last year or what’s the scoop… blood samples would provide insight to this… Dirka dirka

    • By law, if a person has not seen a doctor within 30 days of death an autopsy must be performed. One reason our elderly are seen by their doctors once a month.

  • New Neighbors They just bought that property this is three carbon monoxide deaths in two years in the area, hope people stop taking bong rips of generator Exshuast.

  • Let me just inform Spyrock. My grandson was not taking BONG Generator Rips from the exhaust of the generator. The boys simply vented, by accident, the generator exhaust inwardly. My 22 year old grandson is dead because he was not supplied safe and adequate living facilities…period. He was hired to work and went because he loved it up there and because he was hoping for an adventure, unfortunately this adventure took his life. If this is the 3rd carbon monoxide death in two years there is a message there. If the owners of the properties want people to work their plants, then they should be required to produce safe and adequate living quarters and insurance if bodily harm becomes present. If the police don’t do something then they are just as guilty as the person is who owned this property!

  • What a tragedy, Gerald Vitelli is the grandson of a close friend. No one deserves to work in unsafe and what we now know deadly working/living conditions, how many others will have to die before there is a change. One life is too many, 3 is neglect and not acceptable. Action needs to be taken before another young man loses his life.

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