‘I Hope He Did Not Suffer,’ Local Woman Writes About Man Found Dead in Trunk
At approximately 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 1, Jose David Flores from Leggett was discovered deceased in the trunk of his own car near the Southern California town of Santa Clarita. (See links to earlier stories below.) The cause of death has not yet been revealed.
Many in the tightly knit town of Leggett reported not knowing the victim. They wondered who he was. Cristina Bauss, a local woman and former reporter, knew Flores slightly. She sent RB this:
One day last week, while scanning Facebook for Humboldt news, I saw a brief mention of a Leggett man found dead in the trunk of his car in Southern California. There was no photo, just a name: José David Flores. I experienced some unease; I had met a David Flores a few years ago, but—not wanting to be paranoid—told myself there must be many other people with the same name.
On Friday I saw an updated story with a photograph provided by an out-of-the-area news agency, and my heart dropped.
I know virtually nothing about David. (He introduced himself to me as “David Flores,” not “José Flores”). I only met him a few times, shortly after he moved to the North Coast. I was serving a six-month AmeriCorps term at the Southern Humboldt Family Resource Center, and one of the tasks I took on was coordinating volunteers for the Youth Alive soft-drink booths at Summer Arts and Reggae. David had contacted the FRC because he was interested, and when he came into the office he was warm and enthusiastic. At Summer Arts, he went above and beyond: in addition to working really hard during his assigned shift—which wasn’t until Sunday evening—he checked in with me regularly throughout the weekend, helping me restock the booths and give other volunteers breaks. He volunteered again for Reggae, and once again his work was exemplary.
I regret that I do not remember where David was from. He had been here for just a few months—this was 2011—and was staying with someone he knew outside of Laytonville. Wherever it was, it was more than 45 minutes off the pavement, and David was feeling a little isolated. He thought it was beautiful out there, but he was really enjoying being around people, and he loved both festivals. He was genuinely curious about the North Coast, and we had a couple of wonderful conversations about its history, things to do, places to see, and the like. Predictably for our area, he was looking for any work he could get.
A few months later, when someone I know outside of Laytonville was looking for some outside laborers, I called David. The number was either disconnected or not in service.
I have thought of David occasionally, as—throughout the years—I have thought of many people who have briefly touched my life. I was profoundly disturbed to see his sweet, smiling face in the news last week. Save for the beard, he had not changed.
There is much I could say about the accumulation of tragic deaths on or related to the North Coast and its peculiar culture. But these things have all been said, ad nauseam, nearly to the point of meaninglessness. Of course, we do not yet know who murdered David, or why; but I would be surprised if this was simply a random carjacking or some such thing. Not that it matters, ultimately. I hope he did not suffer. That is all I can hope for or say: I hope he did not suffer.