‘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.


Earlier Chapters:



  • Mercy Me, Mabel!

    I never encountered this man in life but nevertheless thought the same thing — I hoped he had not suffered — when I first read the report of his sad and senseless death. For saying what many of us could never have been able to say with such heartfelt eloquence, Ms. Bauss, thank you for your words.
    And thank you Kym, for publishing this.
    And may he rest in peace.

  • Thanks Christina. I have often marveled at what really great and nice people will do when they find themselves disadvantaged in life. I’m not saying that this is the case here, but I know many really good people caught up in the emerald triangle miasma of marginally legal “cannabis” trade. Just like everybody, I don’t know that it had anything to do with what happened, but we have all seen the track record. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and smells like weed… it probably has something to do with it, on one side or the other.

  • Went to school with David, he was always a great guy! Sweet,charismatic and caring! Rip David!!

  • what school did he go to Stephanie

    • he went to school in Houston, I hadn’t seen him in years but I also went to school with him from middle to high school. & just like described he was a pretty genuine human being. I don’t think I ever saw him upset in all the years I knew him. So heartbreaking. My thoughts go out to his family & his young daughter.

  • Rest in peace young dude.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, it was very sweet

  • that was absolutely beautiful… I too hope he did not suffer!!! Thank you for the tribute

  • David grew up in Houston, TX and went to Stratford high. He had a lot of friends and no enemies. David had a very engaging personality and was always very likeable. I learned many life lessons with David by my side and never got to say goodbye. I’m not familiar with where life had led him over the last decade, but I doubt he deserved the fate he received. He was the father of a beautiful little girl without the support of a mother. This is the hardest part of the story to cope with. I know his family and I’m sure she is in good hands now. Needless to say, he will be missed by many.
    RIP David.

  • I knew David, very briefly, and would like to let his family know how he touched my life. I recently saw him with his daughter and he was so happy to be with her. He touched my life and many lives with his diligence, enthusiasm, warmth, good humor and gentle spirit. I grieve for our loss, for his daughter and family and all of our young people, our community

  • He was my brother in law and when I seen on his daughters mother page that he had passed I was in disbelief & I still am. It’s all is so surreal to me. I have no bad memories, bad times or anything. When David was around he was full of joy, fun, and laughter. Sad sad sad that he left us in such away, but pain no more you gained your wings & at peace now. RIP DAVID.

  • My name is Ashley Allen …I dated David about 2 years ago….he’s been on my mind for quite sometime…so I spent all night looking him up on facebook…I decided to google him for an easier search and I prayed the link and headline I saw was not the David I just spent all night looking for….my heart is breaking more and more as I get deeper into this comment…but he was a beautiful person and my heart goes out to his family and Especially his daughter…I love you David…Rest In Peace

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