Unknown Young Woman’s Death Yesterday in Arcata Forest Believed to Be a Suicide; Can You Help Identify Her?


Law enforcement heads into the forest towards where the body was found. [Photo by Oliver Cory]

The identity of a young woman found in the Redwood Community Forest near the 14th Street entrance in Arcata yesterday is still unknown, says Humboldt County Coroner Ernie Stewart. The woman, who Stewart says likely committed “suicide by hanging,” was found by a hiker around 5 p.m. last night.

“She does not match up with any of our known missing person reports at this time,” Stewart said.

According to Deputy Coroner Roy Horton, the woman, who had been dead “at least a couple days,” might have been connected to Humboldt State University. “She didn’t look like a transient,” he said.

Horton said the woman was believed to be between 19 and 23 years of age with medium length brown hair that contained blond highlights. She was 5’3″ to 5’4″ and weighed about 125 pounds. The woman was wearing a t-shirt that said Gypsy Soul, skinny jeans and a skirt.

On her back, Horton said, “she has a thin outline of angel wings….that go below her shoulders all the way down her back.” Inside the wings is “some kind of symbol we can’t figure out like a 4-sided star that is very thick and bold.” On her right hip, he says, is a red rose. “It’s very, very large. It takes up her whole hip area. On her left side, near her lower abdomen, is a big, black scorpion–five or six inches in length.” Her finger nails were painted orange.

Horton said the woman had “scars on her wrist like she might have been a cutter.”

If anyone recognizes the description, please contact the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office at (707) 445-7739.



  • Surely she will be identified soon. I hope her family does not see this official release, several of the observations are insensitive. So sad she took her life.

    • Ursi, I think identifying the young woman is the top priority. I don’t believe that covering up important identifying attributes would be a good idea. If that was my child, I would prefer that the needed information was released rather than hidden from some misguided attempt to pretend life is prettier than it is. I think we make things shameful by refusing to talk about them. Addressing problems factually is better to me than pretending something is different than it is.

      For instance, knowing this is a probable suicide gives an opportunity for an open conversation about a real issue in Humboldt. Cutting is also another serious problem that could be addressed. This young woman appears to have been in a lot of emotional pain. Addressing that seems more likely to be helpful than carefully couching the terms ambiguously so no one is sure what happened and gossip runs wild.

      • I agree, Kym. None of the descriptions were derogatory–they just described what they found. Tattoos are nothing to be ashamed of anymore; and cut marks are nothing to be surprised at, in a suicide.

      • This is a tough and nuanced issue; very well said, thanks.

      • Good commentary Ursi!!!! I agree w/what U said, Address the problem @ hand.

        • Vixsin Dawn Elizabeth Ivy rose

          To address the problem at hand is to address the problem with County Mental Health when u call in depression and get hung up on goes to show that people don’t care simpra viyron’s is pathetic there are hundreds of thousands of mentally ill people in this area and no help so how do we fix County Mental Health

          • I think there’s a possibility of a class-action lawsuit for the victims of Sempervirens. We are many, but we are separated and hide out of fear of not being understood. But I understand what you went through in there. I know why this girl killed herself. How DO we stop Humboldt County Mental Health’s rampage against young women? LETS START TALKING TO EACH OTHER. If you’re interested in organizing to take down Sempervirens habits of mistreatment and malpractice, email me.


      • I totally agree with you Kym. As a parent, I feel it would be better to know where my child is, than to spend an eternity worrying and waiting for her/him to come home. There should be no shame, only sadness, for everyone involved. I also feel that putting depression, cutting, and suicide out in the open, may possibly let someone else’s child come forward, realizing they aren’t alone. Too many people suffer in silence, not knowing what to do. There is no shame in depression or its side effects, such as cutting, suicide attempts or successes. She is gone, I feel sorrow for her loved ones. I feel sorrow for her as well. Suicide is a difficult decision. Even the “funniest man on earth”, Robin Williams, could not run from his dark places. I hope the authorities are able to find this little girl’s loved ones. Rest In Paradise, sweet one.

    • Well, specifically, for myself, I think it’s ok to describe the tattoo work she had done. But mentioning that she was probably a cutter is not crucial to identifying her, and the police cannot be absolutely sure if she was a cutter. She may have injured herself in another way (For instance, barbed wire can leave slash marks that look like razor slices). Or, and it’s a horrible thought, but somebody else might have actually slashed her for who knows what reason. I’m just saying, I think it was not appropriate for the police to make a guess that she was a cutter and then publicly state that opinion. And “opinion” is not fact. It was wrong of them to call her a cutter.

      • For me, indications that she is a possible cutter helped show why the coroner was focusing on suicide rather than a possible homicide as some people have suggested to me. It is a way to show the public that they don’t need to be very concerned about a violent attack as the death was likely a suicide. I thought it very helpful of him to provide that information to the public and calm fears. In addition, the scars were visible publicly and would help identify her.

      • Everything needs to be told about this girl, she was a human being and she’s gone now, so what if she cut herself… what if that triggered something in someones mind? Maybe someone had a class with her and seen her wrist but not her tattoos, stop being so uptight and realize this girl had a family. A soul. A sad heart that needed healing. She matters.

  • I agree, Kym. Thanks for sharing. Too many times suicide and the pain of depression and suicidal thoughts and attempts are hidden because it is so stigmatized and misunderstood. If more people knew how common those things are and that they aren’t alone, maybe more people would have the courage to reach out, maybe more people would be less afraid to say something and support others going through that pain.
    It saddens me that this young woman died alone and that she likely felt she was alone in the world. My thoughts are with her friends and family.

    • No doubt!! Its like everyone worrying about what people think of them while those folks are worrying about the same thing. The more we can talk about our fears and darkness the less we will be controlled by them.
      Also some people have severe pain that literally makes them not want to be in their bodies anymore.
      blessings to this young woman

    • Vixsin Dawn Elizabeth Ivy rose

      I absolutely agree to be that alone can drive a person to madness however I think that the cops and officers should go and ask the tattoo artists in the area 2 who did the girls tattoos it might help identify who she is most tattoo artist recognize their work as well as other peoples particular style is well

  • Tragic news.
    Coincidentally, a local Out of the Darkness Community Walk to raise awareness about suicide will take place this Sunday on the Arcata Plaza.

  • For those struggling with understanding people with depression, my son who alternately sinks and rises through a sea of it says this comic is the best explanation he’s ever seen. http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html

    • I don’t suppose you could talk him into trying a ketogenic diet. Most people think it’s nuts and most of the ones who don’t can’t muster the chi to try it. But I think it is the number best way to bust out of this brain chemistry problem.

      I think it works for some people even if they don’t keep it up for life and for others only if they keep it up for life, depending I think on the exact causal mechanism.

      Zen is also extremely good for this problem, but there are very few real teachers to be found.

      Still, even if you can’t get him all the way to full ketogenic, just cutting the carbs waaaaaaay down is still extremely helpful. Or getting off all lab food, anything with additives. Or both. Preferably both.

    • thanks for sharing this!

    • Wow, thanks. Very insightful

    • Thanks Kym.

  • I so agree. I am so tired of the total misunderstanding of those with mental health issues. Th depressed, the bi-polar, the schizophrenic and those with eating disorders and mental swings from other diseases like sorjgrens disorder and the like. We look at people and judge when we should be working with ourelves to understand differences so we can help in constructive ways. Too often people are branded as “not normal”????? What the heck is normal for any of us? We bleed the same, we experiences emotions the same… we hurt the same and all everyone of us needs is love and exceptance with all our personal trials. When do we learn?

  • Sheesh. I’m here freakin’ out about my lost dodo and it was from a typo in my email all along.

  • Well, can’t they go to the college and see who fits the dynamic that has not been to class? Maybe do some detective work? I would be upset if my child was labeled as a possible cutter. Maybe wait a couple more days or week and see if someone is reported missing?

  • If the police send the tattoo information to all of the local tattoo parlors, I would hope that one of the artists would come forward and tell you the identity of the young woman. This is so very sad. I hope they do a thorough investigation. I can’t imagine a woman going into a forest to hang herself. That’s such a lonely, lonely sad lady, if she in fact did commit suicide. God rest her soul. Some are just too fragile for this cruel world. So sorry for her family, whoever they are.

    • There’s no way to tell if she got tattoos here or in another area.
      What about dmv records thru thumbprint, dental records, etc?? Is it really that hard to ID a body in this day and age????

      • It can be extremely hard to identify someone. I’m sure they fingerprinted her but unless she’s had her fingerprints taken and is in the system she wouldn’t show up. Dental records can be used to confirm id but they have to have a name. Dental records aren’t kept on a giant national database, they’re kept with your personal file at your dentist. Same with DNA in regards to there not being a national database of everyone in the country for them to compare it to.

  • So very sorry for this precious young lady.

  • It saddens me to hear about this. I pray that they find out who she is and i pray for her family during this hard, sad time… Rest in Paradiss. May you dance happily amoung the angels.

  • I dont think this was a suicide

      • Praying for whoever it is. Depression is no joke. Sometimes signs aren’t always obvious…pay attention the ones you love more intensely even if you have the smallest scent of suspicion they are going through emotional issues. Don’t push them away try to help them.

      • Those that are suicidal do not cut perpendicular to the veins. Cutters cut to feel, not to die. Sarah was not suicidal. I have known her nearly my whole life.

  • Has she been identified yet?

      • Kim can they not use the database from the university to help identify her? We all have to have photo ID. Just wondering. Condolences to her family.

      • Still nothing on the identification? My take is that she was marginalized by her peer group and they do not wish to be associated with a suicide, as that would bring law enforcement to speak to them. There is a family out there somewhere thinking she’s with her new friends….

  • My heart is feeling so heavy for this poor young woman. I hope her family finds out. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen news of this tragic death on any of the other sites. Maybe the times standard and lost coast outpost can spread the word. She must have met or been in contact with someone around here. May her poor soul rest in peace now.

  • Pingback: Gypsy Soul Identified: Family of Woman in Arcata Forest Notified | Redheaded Blackbelt

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