Unidentified Body Found in Eel River Possible Victim of Homicide


The skeleton was found partly in the Eel River near Stafford.

Law enforcement is treating the human remains found this Sunday near Stafford as a possibly new homicide. Humboldt County Coroner Ernie Stewart said that the skeleton found partially in the Eel River by a person canoeing, “still had tissue.” That he said indicates that the person probably died less that six months ago. “We have [no known missing persons in that area] that match that time frame,” he said. “We are treating it as if it were a homicide.”

At the same time, Stewart said, “We saw nothing that would indicate cause of death.”

The skeleton, which Stewart said was “remarkably intact,” still had 90% of all its bones including its entire head and both legs. However, there was, he said, only “a small amount of tissue.”

“There was some clothing, mainly some remnants of pants,” he explained. But, he said, there was not enough left to determine the manufacturer.

Steward said that while the body didn’t match that of any known missing person, the body could belong to either a transient or someone who didn’t keep in touch with family and friends. He added that while the body could belong to someone that just slipped and fell into the water, the body could also be a victim of a homicide.  “There are bodies buried in these hills that we didn’t know they were missing,” he said.

Earlier Chapter: Human Remains Discovered in the River Near Stafford Sunday



  • The Corpse Torched the Victim?

    [edit:] Never mind. You already fixed the headline. It was a pretty good joke while it lasted.

    • Wow, you caught that fast. I had it fixed within a minute.

    • I hope that all police departments in California know about missing Air Force veteran Mike Vanzandt, who went missing from Hermosa Beach in the beginning of March. The Hermosa Beach P.D. will have additional information. I pray that neither this man nor the man found in San Bernardino turn out to be Mike.

  • Thanks for the update interesting .

  • “Didnt keep in touch with family and friends” …..can get you killed…

  • the misadventures of bunjee

    “There are bodies buried in these hills that we didn’t know they were missing,” he said.”

    That’s an uncomfortable truth in living in a place with such beauty. There are many ghosts among us.

  • Dyerville Loop is Not Alderpoint

    The cornners missing some bodies he apparently lost in those hills? We also missed a few english classes together they did.. How much does that job pay? I thinkin on runnin next time or maybe i can just get the sherriff to appoint me and the wife, sounds like a doubble busy job, and im not so much on workin full time since they revoked my dog hunting permit . .L.H.M.

    • You know, I’m not perfect, but it sounds to me like you could use some remedial English classes yourself. No offense.

    • Lost Croat Outburst

      None of us are perfect, and you might want to forgive the coroner for less than perfect diction. I’m just sayin’. I think the coroner is saying that there are bodies in the hills that are still Unfound and unreported as missing. Funny that they offered no guess as to gender since height, mass and density of bones, male brow ridge or lack of it, and especially the pelvis are very good clues. For a hundred bucks, I’ll tell them and refund the money if I’m wrong. No guess on gender? Now that is weird.

      • They can’t make guesses to the press. They might have an opinion but they have to wait until they have facts before they release information.

      • Dyerville Loop is Not Alderpoint

        L.C.O….I forgive the coroner for his less than perfect diction . I was attempting to poke a little fun at the qualifications for the job… Look it up , its pretty sketchy to say the least.Sounds like you have some forensics under your belt, throw your hat in the ring… Im not kidding. But on an ENTIRELY different subject…. What was the coroners final word as to cause of death in the sad case of Mr.Hugh Ray Duggins, recently deceased of Alderpoint?….. Its been months…… Seems like no one cares….. including the” you know who”of Humboldt County.Hugh deserves better! Or was it an act of nature ……by god .

        • veterans friend

          Inquiring minds are also waiting for info on the status of Earl Orr, about whom there has been NO information about since his arrest on murder charges a year or so past….

  • It appears it’s that time of year again. Seems to have started earlier this year

  • So sad.my whole life I knew this was a place you could come if you didn’t want to be found!folks get lost all the time it’s deep and vast mostly beautiful.thats the allure of Humboldt!!!there’s no place like HOME

  • “There are bodies buried in these hills that we didn’t know they were missing,”

    The illicit commercial cannibus industry in Humboldt own’s this. Mom’n pop, green rusher, immigrant grower, second generation … You all own this statement.

    I wonder how many of you do not care?

    Legalization can not come soon enough!!

    • Legalization won’t change shit other than who gets the money . Don’t people rob banks and gas stations ? Those are legal . No one owns that statement unless they were physically complicit in a murder or cover up . Most people here are good trusting people . That’s probably why the people here are targeted . Things are changing though . Don’t expect locals to come without a strap and a couple of backup rigs across the roads . It is getting worse , but that is nature taking its course equalizing the playing field . We here will adapt , we have the home advantage . We own our future , not a coroners down trodden statement about his opinion on the contents of our beautiful mountains .

  • Pickle barrel, whiskey barrel, 50gallon drum
    ‘nother ‘n gon’ a missin’ in so hum
    Grass fire, structure fire, wilderness ablaze
    Firefighters hose ’em down, deserve another raise
    Home invasion, got their pot, nodder’s off the road
    A mountain place, with beauty’s grace
    death pays a heavy toll

  • Legalization will not stop criminals from being criminals. If anything legalization will only fuel the green rush and cause more people to move out here to grow dope and will make it easer for criminals to operate under the radar. Not that I think any drug should be Illegal as long as your doing them in your own space and not hurting others but the idea that crime and greed will stop just because its legalized is naive.

    • I almost agree accept I’m against the legalization of meth . That shit ruins families because it destroys the mind fast ! Drug use is not victimless if your family had to endure tragedy due to your drug use . Everything in moderation ( accept crank ! )

  • Humboldt Co. needs a “Hot Line” for desperate at risk people. Who just wanna go home. Be careful folks.

  • I know that they said that the body doesn’t match any known missing person, but I wonder if it’s Shannon House. It would be nice if his family could have answers.

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