‘I Need Help,” an Email Brings the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office to the Rescue

A story for our personal accounts section from our editor, owner and janitor, Kym Kemp.

An email arrived today while I was sleeping. The heading said, “Help.”


Screengrab of the email I received on Saturday at 4:31 a.m.

I didn’t know the writer but when I searched I realized I had exchanged emails with the man over a year ago.

The message, edited to protect his privacy, read,

I am staying in a shack…in Westhaven I am being kept from my meds and appointments and food by the woman I paid $600 rent to … I have no sewage or water…shitting in a bucket

The roof is leaking

I am wet

I need help

I cannot see well enough to do this

Please help

Who do you call when you get an email like that and live close to two hours away? (And, I get a lot of crazy emails so I wasn’t sure if I was being trolled.)

You call the Sheriff’s Department.

Could they help?

Sure, we can do a welfare check, a Deputy Bronson explained. (She’s still in training and shy about giving her first name)

From first contact with Dispatch to last contact with Corporal Chad Zech, they were kind and helpful.

The man who wrote me was cold, said Zech. He was wet. He didn’t have his medication. And he was living in a chicken coop with an extension cord and some water.

This morning, the Sheriff’s Department made sure he was transported to the hospital.

They are investigating the situation. Zech is filling out papers for Adult Protection Services. “That way somebody else will be watching over him,” Zech explained. “With the cold weather we’ve been having you don’t want him to be a casualty.”

The man who wrote the email credited me with helping him. “I  have a friend,” he told Zech touchingly.

But I credit the Sheriff’s Department.

They did what they do so often. They showed up and made a situation better. “I’m just doing my job,” said Deputy Bronson. And a heck of a job she and the Sheriff’s Department did.

Thank you, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department. (Extra thanks to Bronson and Zeck!)



  • Awesome….

    I’d like to rent my chicken coop for $500 and it comes with two extension cords, propane space heater, light dep tarps to keep rain out, along with a squat box and a shower curtain.

    Let him know I can save him a few bucks.

  • Thank goodness you followed up, Kym. This could have been a tragedy.

  • The Sheriff’s Office deserves thanks, but you deserve “top” thanks for following through on the email you received. Without you passing along that information, no one but that man and his “landlady” would have been aware of his situation. You could very well have saved his life. My hat’s off to you, Kym.

  • Kindness and caring are Kym’s superpowers. She can also write. And save a life here and there.
    Also thank you Sheriff’s Department.

  • Your compassion, Kym, and doing SOMETHING, set you apart from most.

  • Seems to me this so-called “landlady” news to be arrested for abuse. Will that happen as a result of the positive action by Kym Kemp and the Sheriff’s Dept? has the DA been notified?

  • Great action on your part Kym…as I live in provider for a senior..I could not imagine the type of conditions this person was kept in, and I hope we find out soon what was really happening in that household. Thanks!

  • Thank you Kym 🙂

  • Who is this “land lady” more like worthless human being!!
    Who rents someone a chicken coop!!!!???
    What heartless individual dose that?? Oh her!
    Sickens me. She should be ashamed if anything!!
    Hope there’s grounds to charge her with something! Thats just so wrong!!! A chicken coop!! *sigh*

  • I think I remember a case in New York city where they sentenced a landlord to live in one of his rentals for six months due to the deplorable conditions he had his tenants living in. Throw her in the chicken coop for a while.

  • There was a movie called landlord with Joe pesci,this applies.their really are Angel’s in the world!!!

  • Kudos to the sheriff deputies and to you Kym, for following through to help this person in dire need. Shame on the loser who did such a mean thing to an elder. They should be punished by being forced to live in the same conditions.

  • Kym, I hope you know how much you mean to…and how much we appreciate the way you stay on top of all that goes on in your community.
    No one does that in Mendocino so many of us watch you carefully…. and are grateful you cover us too.

    Blessings to you and yours…….. 🙂

  • You’re the bestest…

  • Many people would have unknowingly chucked it, but not our Kym who stepped up to the plate and got this looked into. My hat’s off to Kym and the officers who took the time to do a welfare check.

  • Kym Kemp on the watch. Remarkable work you are doing. Glad for the help of the Sheriff and the officers to take care of it. I hope there is a resolution to this terrible situation. It is easy to make judgements on the person who allowed himself to be victimized, but things happen and before you know it, you are the one in the shack. I just hope that this woman who took advantage gets some serious attention from the law for her bad dealings. Thanks for being there Kym.

  • As a security volunteer for festivals for the last twenty years, I have had some dealings with officer Chad Zech, he is a nice guy.

  • kym, someone thinks you’re an angel in the blogosphere.
    i happen to agree.
    then i found this pic of you!
    you rock it, kym. thank you.

  • Kym. You are continously compassionate. You perform a service to the community. You don’t muckrake like Loco. You are appreciated.
    Merry Christmas!

  • I am just glad he had the sense to reach out while he still could and that everyone involved took him seriously.

  • Yes kym,but you felt something in your heart and someone was reaching out and you made that call!!like I said “their really are Angel’s in the world.

  • Wow …that;s great that you have so much trust from your readers…I want a like button on your page comments..I am too lazy to type sometimes

  • There is only one Kym Kemp in this world (at least in So. Humboldt). Oh, how I wish there were many, many more. What a wonderful world this would be.

  • I think we now need to focus on having resources. The people who have aps reports get some initial help and then often end up getting forgotten about. People need to care more for each other and we need a better set up for those who need help.

  • I am a big Chad Zech fan. He is one of the good guys. Uplifts the whole department.

  • Retired Nurse/Midwife

    I think the need for the e911 system to have the capability of receiving texts and emails is underscored by this story, eh?

  • a Miracle . Thank You Kym you are a Miracle!

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