Lost in the System; Eureka Cops Try to Help an Elderly Man

Ron PeelandDo you know the man above? The Eureka Police think he’s one of our senior citizens. He probably lives or lived in Fortuna.

“He’s falling through the cracks,” Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills said.

Since Sunday morning, Eureka Police have had several contacts with him. The first was at the request of Supervisor Rex Bohn who noticed that the man had been curled up under the Humboldt County Courthouse steps.

When the officer contacted the dishevelled, elderly man at a nearby market, he noticed that the balding man with wisps of white hair was shaking uncontrollably and his hands were blue with cold. While the officer was asking the man a few questions, he noticed the man seemed confused and unsure of basic information.

“He couldn’t remember his name or date of birth,” Mills explained. “And he didn’t possess identification.”

The elderly man, who eventually said his name was Ron, picked up a muffin from the store. The officer asked him if he was going to pay for it. The man admitted having no money. The officer bought Ron the muffin and took him to his car to warm him up.

Though Ron ate the muffin and began to thaw a little, he wasn’t able to answer basic questions, Mills told us. Ron couldn’t give the current year, the EPD Chief said. “He thought he was in 1954 at one point.”

The officer eventually took Ron to St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka. There, Mills said, the elderly man “was combative,” wouldn’t answer questions, and “swung at a doctor.”

Eventually, Ron was taken to Sempervirens Psychiatric Health Facility. But, he was eventually discharged from there and apparently spent another night under the steps of the Humboldt County Courthouse.

The next morning, dispatch sent the same EPD officer to a cafe near there after Ron was once again reported as behaving oddly. Once again, he was cold and dishevelled but didn’t appear to have been drinking or using drugs. This time Adult Protective Services were contacted. But again, somehow he didn’t quite fit criteria to get a place to stay.

Chief Mills says the Eureka Police have been trying to find people who know him that could help. They believe the man’s name is Ron Pelland and he grew up in Fortuna. They believe he also spent some time in San Francisco.

However, he said, “He shouldn’t be sent anywhere without stabilization and someone to take care of him…We’re trying to find family.”

Mills thinks that Mr. Pelland might have a home, perhaps nearby. “He doesn’t sound like one of the typical transients,” the Chief said. “[It’s] more cold and dementia and inability to care for himself that’s the issue…He doesn’t have anything other than the clothes on his back.”

If you have information about Ron, please contact the Eureka Police at (707) 441-4060 during business hours.

If a responsible person to help can’t be found, Mills is unsure of what will happen. “What do we do with this person?” he asked. “The state mental hospitals are gone–[He needs] a place where [he] can be warm and dry.”



  • Betty Chin or the rescue mission?

    • They aren’t equipped to deal with someone who has dementia. He’d end up in jail, which is what they are obviously trying to avoid.

  • And our state legislature and governor have no intention of reopening the mental hospitals where people like this can go. St Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblyman Woods say they care but then they never do anything meaningful. Shame on them.

    • Nope they would rather spend the money on sanctuary cities for the illegal immigrants.

      • Do you understand goverenment at all? Money is marked for certain projects and must be used for said projects. Moneys for mental health have nothing to do with sanctuary cities nor does it cost anything to be a sanctuary city unless a president decides to withdraw all funding to a city that is only doing what the statue of liberty says. You are an immigrant and your ancestors were illegal. If you dont like the values america was founded on then move somewhere else. We are an immigrant nation.

      • thank you Nancy for taking the words right out of my mouth

      • Wow this story has nothing to do with your right wing agenda. I hope they find his family and it is nice to see police trying to help.

    • This guy needs a bed in a SNF. Call SHCHD in Goobsterdam!

  • What the area needs are Single Residential facilities that allow houseless a pace to stay. The problem What we have in the area are NIMBYs and no funding. There are opportunities for funding, but the wait is long. Like the Budge Motel on 4th Street, be ideal to refurbish and provide single rooms, but it will take a couple million to get it started and like $300K per year to run.

    • Houseless? Look how clean his clothes are. Why do you think he doesn’t have a house somewhere?

      • The houseless can get clothes washed and get a hot shower once a week for brief hours.

      • Mills thinks that Mr. Pelland might have a home, perhaps nearby. “He doesn’t sound like one of the typical transients,” the Chief said. “[It’s] more cold and dementia and inability to care for himself that’s the issue…He doesn’t have anything other than the clothes on his back.”

    • what this county needs is to go around and pick up there worthless people and lock them up. they put them in tents in some states. stop feeding, clothing and giving them money for there service dogs. what a JOKE. AND THE JOKES ON YOU BLEEDING HEARTS. THEY THINK YOUR STUPID. YOUR BEING HUSTLED. WAKE UP. IM NOT TALKING ABOUT THE MENTALLY ILL. im talking about the low live we see all over erueka.

  • This is incredibly sad.

    • You said it. This is such a.tragedy! Thank you epd. If medical care were socialized, st joes would have kept him until he was stable. Given his shivering and lack of appropriate clothes, hes at risk of dieing.

  • Praying for this lost man 🙁 So sad that in our day and time there is no help for him. There has to be a way. There has to be someone who knows him. He is loved somewhere……by someone……

  • Reality is disheartening. I feel for lost souls

  • Cheif your not going to jail him? Hum he’s not Betty ready what will we do? When you fiqure that one out you have about 3,000 more folks that need help that sleep on your cold streets every night. As you and your city pride yourself for be so damn cruel!
    Hey Rex they are all someone father, mother, sister , brother, aunt or uncle. You should be ashamed at the way this county has NOT dealt with their homeless issue!

  • Kudos to Rex for not just walking past him. I don’t at all like what this says about us as a community. He can’t feed himself without stealing because of his dementia? Last I checked, that would make him eligible for services. Hopefully he gets them before he dies.

  • SV and Adult Protective services both DUMPED this man back on the street?!!!!! The Grand Jury needs to investigate both!!!!

  • Very sad, its way to wet and cold for him to be outside. Hope he has some family to care for him, wishing him a warm home….

  • What about checking the VA clinic? He’s clean and vets often go between here and SF for treatment

  • They let him go sleep outside under the stairs again?! Okay- We are seriously f*#ked up! This incident should illustrate that we have seriously gone astray.

  • It is very sad.. our fu@$%&. Supervisors government ect. Can sit on there As&$# and collect a big fat paycheck every month and tax the shit out of people on anything and everything they can but can’t seem to help the homeless and poor. This is a very disturbing world we live in. There are more homeless people in the United States then I think there is any where else. Where is Donald Trump and his Promises to help the American people find Jobs? These people are freezing to death and dying because they have no where to go. So Very Sad and it makes my Heart Ache because people shouldn’t be treated like dirt under people’s feet. Kudos to Officer Mills for buying this gentleman a muffin God only knows when the last time was he ate anything… People Do Get Hungry and Cold I pray they find family soon or get him a place to go to.

    • Tump has been President for 2 weeks and you blame it on him?

      • D-Trump should be responsible, but he is not taking responsibilities like a leader of a nation should. Scarier yet Pence is worse.

    • Agree with much of what you say, but Donald Trump isn’t responsible for this situation; and he sure hasn’t had time to create jobs. Obama had 8 years to help people such as this man, but instead his priority was to help thousands of immigrants enter the US, most still illegal, and compete for the jobs that Americans could possibly have. These immigrants are given so much to start a life in America, yet this man cannot even get a bed & meal for a night. That is what is wrong with this country right now. We should take care of US citizens before trying to save the world.

    • very sad. they need to stop doing meth!!! they made the mess let them sit in it. you people need co dependency classes.

    • very sad. they need to stop doing meth!!! they made the mess let them sit in it. you people need co dependency classes. so he wasted his live and now we should pick up the tap. no way. fuck him.

  • I bought this man lunch in eureka when I was up there 2 weeks ago. He was clean but seemed confused. Said he was hungry, so I gave him a sizzler gift card! He was with other men behind sizzler!

  • This is one of the saddest story’s I have read in awhile if I had a place to care for this Man I would do so. how he didn’t qualify for service from Adult protective service is beyond me.. except I now see they are probably like cps and are giving to the one’s that don’t Need it and turning away the one’s that do..
    My Prayers and thoughts are with you Mr.Ron if I ever pass you while in Eureka I will stop and help you any way I can..
    I wonder if we will ever see a day when our system will do what it was originally designed to do?? HELP OUR PEOPLE. ..

    • Really? CPS “gives” to the ones that don’t need it and turn away the ones that do? What a bunch of b.s. – educate yourself and state facts, not b.s. you pulled out of your behind!

  • What is wrong with our system????? We put a life long drug abuser and thief into a new low income house( the new ones by Ray’s in Fortuna) directly released from hospital from a drug over dose (3rd time in 1 year) BUT WE CAN NOT HELP THIS MAN!!!!! This breaks my heart!! What wrong with the people running OUR systems!!!

  • How sad. It hasn’t been too long since he had some contact with reality. He has recently had a haircut and beard trim. He has to have had some kind of life to get as old as he is.
    “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grave with their song still in them” . (Henry David Thoreau)


  • In the meantime, maybe take a thumbprint and see if he ever had a driver’s license.

  • Perhaps there is a way I can help. I will call the EPD tomorrow.

    • This comments are disheartening. You are the only one who responded. I work in Oregon with many folks who fall into the gaps of our service system. Thank you for trying to help. Persist!

  • It’s really sad that this old guy would be better off in jail with a roof over his head and food to eat, than left to wander the streets and eventually die of exposure or malnutrition. I can’t believe we let this happen to our elderly who really need help. We are surely a nation of hypocrites. Maybe if each of us can force ourselves to give up a movie, or a dinner out, or getting our nails done, or a week of Starbucks, we could cough up enough to get him a motel room until something more permanent can be done for him.

  • This just breaks my heart! He was released twice and he didn’t know his name,so let’s just stick our heads in the sand and hope he goes away. SAD 😭

  • We need a serious investigation into our mental health dept, whos pocket is the money lining? Its getting to be time to approach the state and ask for them to investigate corruption in our county govt. Its just ridiculous!

  • From Google. Ronald Robert Pelland, 1815 Powell St #3, San Francisco, CA 94133. Ronald R Pelland, 439 16Th St, Fortuna, CA 95540.

  • Thus is not a failure of government. It is a conflict between any human being having a right not to be held against their will and actually being forced to accept what they don’t want for their own good. It is nowhere as easy to address as these casual comments imply.

    I once tried to get a chronic drunk help who I found sleeping in a parking space between two parked cars when I just about drove over him. After 3 months, numerous petitions, many calls to social workers who were trying to get him help, etc, a public defender got his involuntary commitment dismissed because he objected. Within two weeks he was dead of exposure.

    It’s easy to blame but you go try to do something yourself where a human with righrs objects. It is not a clear line nor an easy solution.

    • You are absolutely right, Thinking Allowed. This man appears to have dementia, which means he will want to wander. Someone, somehow, will have to stop him, or want to stop him–because it is possible he will come to harm. How and when to do this is very much a question of his rights vs what most of us perceive as his welfare.

  • Every case should be looked at individually. Some deserve help, Some don’t. This man obviously does. I personally know people who get vouchers and money from the government every month
    and blow it on alcohol and drugs. They end up going to jail a few times while they have this money . They laugh and say they get three hots (meals) and a cot. It makes me sick. The state needs to kick these people off the gravy train and use the money to help those who really need it.

  • Reminds me of my dad

  • This is the exact type of person, in a situation we should be helping. Not the tweekers and junkies.

  • Tired of reading racist comments about immigrants fuck….. trump supporters don’t misunderstand the problem here. We have a mental problem here nothing to do with immigrants and sanctuary cities….. Ronald Reagan was the guy that closed the mental facilities ….

  • Praying he finds someone or some facility to take care of him.

  • California birth records
    Ronald Robert Pelland
    birth: 19 April 1945 Humboldt, California, United States
    mother: Leonard

    • May have a son….
      John A Pelland
      Birth date Sep 24, 1970
      Birth place Humboldt

      May have married…
      Ronald R Pelland, birth year 1945
      Donna Gray Robison birth year 1939
      marriage date 02 Aug 1968
      Event Place San Francisco City, California

      • Wasn’t married for long….
        California Divorce Index
        Name: Ronald R Pelland
        Name Donna G Robinson
        Event Type Divorce
        Event Date Dec 1968
        Event Place San Francisco City, California

        His first marriage…
        California Divorce Index
        Ronald R Pelland
        Name Mary Mchale
        Event Type Divorce
        Event Date Nov 1967
        Event Place San Francisco City, California

        Name Ronald Robert Pelland
        Residence Date 01 Jan 2000-01 Oct 2007
        Residence Place San Francisco, California, United States
        Birth Date 19 Apr 1945
        Phone Number (415) 392-0823

        Phone Number Recorded Date 01 Oct 2007

        Address 112 Columbus Ave # 64
        Address Continued San Francisco, California 94133
        2nd Address 1815 Powell St Apt 3
        San Francisco, California 94133
        2nd Address Date 01 Jan 1995-01 Jan 2004
        Record Number 472689992

        Hopefully a doctor will recognize his/her patient.

  • He’s on Facebook. Ronald Pelland. He has many friends, most of whom went to Fortuna High.

    • We believe the Facebook page is his and we’ve been attempting to contact his friends. But many that I’ve contacted don’t seem to know him in real life.

  • Do ANY of you think this is the only person in this situation?

  • TaxpayerSteveDobbs

    Semper virons? How silly!
    Well my fellow Americans, lets not keep beating around the bush.
    Capitalism isn’t really designed to help out people like this .
    He needs cared for, some sort of living situation in a place that’s staffed, has things to do for him, like a room full of board games, television, books and magazines, perhaps field trips, you know, like the retirement places you see advertised on tv, wouldnt have to be luxury level at the top of the trump towers but an all basic needs , humane place is what’s needed here.
    Well, lets be frank, unless you got the money for this sort of shannanigans your shit out of luck, like that old saying “money talks and bullshit walks” .
    America doesn’t just have a lot of walkers, but in my book they are 50k runners with all the bla bla you can imagine.
    There is no money to be made caring for people in need, not the sick, not the junkies, not the elderly! They must all pay for care ahead of time or at the end of the month, or have a credit card on file.
    So keep looking away America, that is one of the things you do best, ignoring and looking away!
    Shame on all the generations that allowed it to get to this point. Shame on me and shame on you!
    There’s plenty of people that piss a 100k into the wind in this county and do so every year, one of them should step up and hook this guy up in one of them retirement places!
    Better yet with all that dope money the county will be making in the future, we are talking billions, we should maybe consider voting on things like this, putting our own tax money to work and no better place of source than the sacred medicine that creator gifted us. How ironic that marijuana, cannabis is really the only way to fix this earth, maybe that’s why the emperor wears no clothes,… Or we can all grow dreads and stand around in the plaza and pretend everything is great, call home to mom and pops to let them know funds are needed because beer and pizza ( no mention of the x and coke) aren’t free….

  • Several local relatives located through genealogy research. Information passed on to the Eureka Police. Hopefully will be helpful. Living local relatives would be nieces and nephews (or great nieces and nephews). They may have no real idea who he is.

  • There is a Chad, Gail, Gary, and Diane Pelland in Eureka, maybe they are relatives?

  • I believe I talked to this gentleman last night. He was in a wheelchair. He told me his name was Ron. I talked to him for a bit. He told me he was an ex Marine and told me quite a bit about that. He did mention being married once for sure, maybe twice. That he was not a good father and he had many regrets about that. He said he was a mean son of a bitch. He said he has suffered a tremendous amount of PTSD from being in the Marines and the things that he had to do there and the amount of KILLS that he had. Was addicted to heroin for awhile and has many things he wished he could do over. He was in a lot of trouble with a lot of the wrong people throughout his life and came to find God and is trying to make amends. I had to step back inside for a moment to take care of something and when I went back he was gone. I wish I could have talked to him longer and done something for him.

    • Jennifer Paige Hawkins

      Not the right guy.i am looking for ron .he never touched heroin, served in the army in vietnam

  • Born 1945. Puts him about 18 or 20 at around the Vietnam War draft era. Same age as my uncle. I’ve seen what the nightmares and guilt can do to a person. Not a good sight. Hopefully this man’s family will step up and get him home.

  • Used to be at Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Center according to a friend of mine. They may have more info.

  • For the love of God, is it that difficult to connect this man to the VA clinic and or his social security benefit and determine if he’s a homeowner? I mean, seriously?

  • PLEASE HELP US FIND RON!He is a wonderful man.He is a father figure to my husband and myself.We have been looking for him since 11-12-16, I came across this article 3-13-17, tried several times to contact the Eureka Police and have been given the run around.Facts about Ron -Ron grew up in Fortuna, served our country as infantry in the army during the Vietnam War then attended Arizona State, he has a kind heart, hes led a colorful life and just an all around great guy.Until the recent onset of dementia his mind was sharp as a tack, he knows every fact and stat about baseball, is an awesome chess player, and is an amazing poker player . During the month of August 2016 Ron , who had always paid his rent on time, was thrown out in the street illegally from his home of 15 years by a greedy slumlord because they can increase the rent on a new tenant . Ron , too proud to ask for help , was deteriorating on the streets of SF. Dementia began to set in. Ron is NOT a drug addict or a drunk . His birthday is in 9 days and we want to celebrate it with him, PLEASE any information on Ron Pelland will be much appreciated , I think he has a cousin up in Fortuna but I think most of his relatives that he knew are deceased. Please call 425-746-0882 Jennifer.

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