Who’s Gone Missing in the Emerald Counties?
In Humboldt County, on average, nearly two and a half missing person’s reports were filed per day in 2016. Most didn’t stay missing, but law enforcement expended hundreds of man hours following leads, entering data, scouring wildlands as well as city streets, and attempting to locate the lost, the intentionally wandering, and sometimes, those who were likely murdered and their crumpled bodies hidden from those who searched.
The sheer number of people missing each year that local law enforcement deals with is staggering. In 2016, the latest year for which statistics are available on the California Department of Justice’s website, 513 missing children reports were filed and 348 missing adults reports were filed in Humboldt County alone. Most of these eventually returned on their own or were located. However, three of the adults were found deceased. Fifteen of the adults reported and seven of the children had been arrested.
Trying to look closely at the numbers of those missing here in the Emerald Counties is like trying to grab water–you know you’ve touched something but you don’t have anything solid when you open your hand. For example, take a closer look at Humboldt. According to Lt. Dennis Young of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department, Humboldt County has 176 people currently listed as missing. The county’s records manager Melva Paris tells me that the oldest case is from 1975.
According to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) website, “Law enforcement agencies are required by law to submit reports of missing persons to DOJ.” But, from the research we did, a number of those known to be missing in the Emerald Counties, are not listed on the site.
For instance, we were able to compile only 50 missing people in Humboldt County from the DOJ’s site and other sources such as news reports and websites like NamUs–the National Missing and Unidentified Persons’ System. And, of those 50 we’ve compiled, seventeen of those names are not actually listed on the Department of Justice’s site. This could mean they’ve been located and removed but, in many instances, all available information indicates most of the 17 are actually missing.
In addition, Melva Paris, Humboldt County’s Records Manager, in notes compiled for us by Samantha Karges of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, pointed out the two earliest missing are a pair of brothers swept from the South Jetty, Herbert and Raymond Wall. Neither are listed on the DOJ site.
Paris explained, “The DOJ Website only puts Missing Persons on their Website that could possibly be homicide victims due to the circumstances surrounding their disappearance.” This would mean that the Walls were kept off the site because they are believed to have died of natural causes. However, Gregory James Kuljian (Geddie), who disappeared after being swept away by the ocean, is listed. Nonetheless, this might account for at least some of the names not listed by the DOJ that we have noted below.
However, some of what we know about those missing but not listed indicate they were not the victims of nature but quite possibly the victims of homicide. Robert Joseph Tennison, missing person number 27 on the list of Humboldt County’s missing we’ve compiled at the bottom of this article, is widely believed to have been murdered and there is no indication of a natural death.
Some of those not listed from Humboldt are well-known or relatively recent like Robert Tennison, Sumi Gail Juan, and all the 2017 cases. (Note: The 2017 known missing persons are listed for all the other Emerald Counties.)
Paris agrees there is a discrepancy between Humboldt County numbers and the numbers of those listed on the DOJ website. Speaking through Karges, she said, “I’m not sure where DOJ gets the figures because the data they are supplying doesn’t match… I have contacted [the DOJ’s Missing Person] Unit to find out where this information comes from.” As of the time of publishing, Paris hasn’t gotten back to us with an explanation.
She did tell us, “Department of Justice provides downloads for every County of Missing Persons. The list is updated daily.”
We requested that list for publication and were told that the Sheriff’s Department wanted to evaluate our request.
In addition, we spoke to Tania Mercado, Press Secretary from the California Department of Justice, and she would only say that the names of the missing people are added or removed based on information given the DOJ by law enforcement throughout California. She was not able to provide any criteria for why some are listed and some are not.
Long after the missing posters on those who have vanished have faded and blown away in the wind, some family members will keep vigil. Some will keep vigil silently–barely acknowledging out loud the loose thread that caught on their heart when their loved one vanished and which now threatens to unravel their life. Some will keep vigil by reaching out to the media or police or both on a regular basis, hoping even decades after their loss that they will get answers. They hope but, at the same time, they fear to know for sure that their loved one is dead.
If you have a family or friend missing, an event this June 9 in Sacramento may be helpful to you. This free event will have law enforcement available to help record information. Family members can give DNA samples if they choose to help with identification. They are also “encouraged to bring photos, along with medical and dental records of their missing loved ones.”
Missing Persons in the Emerald Counties:
Meanwhile, we offer the following information. We have listed and linked every missing person that we know of within the Emerald Counties: Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity. Please feel free to comment below with information about any who might need to be added. We’ll try to verify and update.
- Most of those listed are found on the California Missing Persons website. The links to the missing found there start with https://oag.ca.gov/
- The links almost always lead to photos.
- In addition, there are names with links that match up to information that are not on the California Missing Person website.
- In addition, we just put the photos of people who went missing after 2014.
- 2009 Gregory Ralph Bryan, Jr. https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2011 Robert Lee James https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2012 Jeff Lanum https://oag.ca.gov/missing/person/jeff-lanum-1
Humboldt: We have only been able to locate 50 names of the 176 total considered missing, according to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.
- 1975 Herbert Bradley Wall washed into the Pacific Ocean from the South Jetty.
- 1975 Raymond Allan Wall washed into the Pacific Ocean from the South Jetty.
- 1977 Mary Elizabeth Stuart https://oag.ca.gov/missing/person/mary-elizabeth-stuart See also http://deaniepeters-missingangels.blogspot.com/2014/05/missing-37-years-mary-jessie-and-fannie.html
- 1977 Jessie Flo Stuart https://oag.ca.gov/
- 1977 Fannie Fawn Stuart https://oag.ca.gov/
- 1977 March 30 Clare Louise Christie —(said to have been lost at sea but was the wife of a man who later is believed to have killed at least one other woman and terrorized more.)
- 1981Ollie Letrell Cader https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
- 1981 Edrel Mae Pierce https://oag.ca.gov/
- 1985 Charles Detweilder Allen https://oag.ca.gov/missing/person/charles-detweilder-allen See more information on Namus.
- 1985 John Stewart Campbell https://oag.ca.gov/
- 1988 Thomas Page Locke https://oag.ca.gov/
- 1988 June 7 Penelope Jo Milbourn https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
- 1990 Dan Thomas Pogue https://oag.ca.gov/
- 1991 Andrea Jerri White https://oag.ca.gov/
- 1993 Hannah Rowell https://oag.ca.gov/
- 1993 Roger Anderson https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
- 1996 Lorie Lynn Walters Pope https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
- 1997 Karen Mitchell https://oag.ca.gov/
missing/person/karen-marie- mitchell-0 Also there is more information on Karen Mitchell here.
- 2001 Katie Elizabeth Wantz https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2003 Chris Robert Giauque https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2003 Joan Penderell Taylor https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2005 September Michael William Desmet the person he was with was found in the skeletal form. Also, more information can be found here.
- 2006 February 1 Seamus Murphy https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
- 2007 Kawika David Benjamin Chetron https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2007 November 16 Gary Lee Rogers reportedly vanished from Hanson’s Truck Stop.
- 2008 Christine Walters https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2009 January 19 Robert Joseph Tennison [Bob the builder] http://www.charleyproject.
org/cases/t/tennison_robert. html Robert Joseph Tennison [Bob the builder] was expected to show up but didn’t. See also here.
- 2009 John Leyden https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2010 September Sumi Gail Juan disappeared.
- 2011 April Robert Firestone elderly and reportedly wandered away
- 2012 November 1 Kevin Michael Kelly https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2012 November 24 Gregory James Kuljian https://oag.ca.gov/missing/person/gregory-james-kuljian (was swept away by a wave near Big Lagoon.)
- 2013 August 25 John Edward Morgan https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
- 2014 January 11 Sheila Franks https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
- 2014 June Jeff Joseph https://oag.ca.gov/missing/person/jeffrey-keith-joseph
- 2014 August 1 Victoria Joy Tatro https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
- 2014 September 17 Daniel Michael Flanagan https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2016 May 16 Jennifer Leann Atkins isn’t accessing her bank accounts.
- 2016 August 24 Aaron Kaloustian missing after a vehicle accident.
- No photo available 2016 September 2 Meg Possible overdue hiker.
- 2017 March 10 Ariana Yvette Osorio https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
- 2017 June 28 Natalie Rashelle Wright missing after receiving death threats.
- No photo available 2017 June 28 Wright’s 19-month-old daughter, Mack Chevelle Grant missing after her mother received death threats.
- 2017 July 11 Ellen Cameron Temple older transient.
- 2017 July 31 Leanne Eller left most of her property behind.
- 2017 November 9 Jeremy Dewayne Ashley https://oag.ca.gov/missing/person/jeremy-dewayne-ashley
- 2017 November 28 Ivan Linan missing after vehicle accident on Hwy 36.
- 2018 January 21 Quincy Tod Mendes missing after vehicle accident on Hwy 36.
Mendocino: We have only been able to learn 33 of the names of the missing.
- 1974 June Linda Lovell (information from Namus) disappeared while with Stephen Locke Packard below.
- 1974 June Stephen Locke Packard (information from Namus) a travelers check in Packard’s name was cashed at a store in Westport, Mendocino County, CA. Linda Lovell and Stephen Packard have not been heard from since then.
- 1976 Frederick Donald Leach https://oag.ca.gov/missing/person/frederick-donald-leach Also known as William Donald Leach Namus
- 1981 January 17 Craig Herrick Langford III (information from Namus)
- 1981 January 17 Christine Langford (information from Namus) may have drowned.
- 1983 January 1 Dorothy Turley Bolton (information from Namus) disappeared from home.
- 1983 Peter Harrington https://oag.ca.gov/
- 1986 Feb 21 Clifford Whealdon Cox (information from Namus) He and vehicle reported missing.
- 1987 Sept 17 Daniel William Southers (information from Namus) believed to be related to illegal cultivation.
- 1992 August 13 Wayne Douglas Rogers (information from Namus) left suicide letters.
- 1993 August 9 Kristi Krebs (information from Namus) left behind bra, panties, wallet, and car.
- 1995 Danny Ray Michael https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2001 Jaime Vasquez https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2001 June 11 Remigio Herrera Hernandez (aka Rafael Sanchez)( information from Namus) fell off a boat.
- 2004 Chad Richard Kirkendall https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2004 Dec 17 Katherine Rebecca Lamadrid https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
- 2005 Donald James Cavanaugh https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2005 Thomas Michael Thurston https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2006 Mar 1 David Virgil Neily https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
- 2007 12/31 Michele Bonnie Schlick https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2010 Eric Christopher Grant https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2011 July 21 Oscar Cabada (Rosario Lopez Bobadilla) Namus [Vehicle left at a local park.
- 2013 Apr 4 Genevieve Kathryn Alexander https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
- 2013 Erik Lamberg https://oag.ca.gov/
missing/person/erik-swan- lamberg-0 Erik Lamberg
- 2013 Sept 12Steven Ernest Wilson https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
- 2013 December 4 Paul Ussing Storm (information also from Namus) fell in ocean.
- 2014 January 14 Tellie j. Simmons (information also from websleuths) is not in contact with family.
- 2014 April 2 Barbara Lea Norton https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
- 2014 October 22 Michael Anderson https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
- 2015 September 21 https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2015 October 3 Corey Abernathy (information from website) didn’t show up to work.
- 2017 August 6 James Matthew Begley https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
- 2017 August 23 Duane Masher (information from website). His vehicle was found in Leggett.
Trinity: We have only been able to locate 20 names of the missing.
- 1980 Donna Fowler https://oag.ca.gov/
- 1987 Billy Lee Maynard https://oag.ca.gov/
- 1993 Jennifer “Jade” Wilmer https://oag.ca.gov/
- 1993 June 11 Beth Ellen Rogers (information from Namus) swept away by river.
- 1995 Robin Denise Appel Herring https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2001 Naomi Nalani Hagerman https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2008 August 29 Louie Taylor (information from Namus) was last reported seen walking away from his father-in-law’s property.
- 2009 Christopher Joseph McNeill (information from Facebook) was last seen walking on Hwy 3.
- 2014 August 2 Stephen Michael Morris https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
- 2014 October 1 Michael Thomas McDonald https://oag.ca.gov/
- 2015 July 20 Dustin Martin [Information from website) left behind his dog, his wallet and his cell phone at a campsite.
- 2015 October 11 Shannon House https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
- 2016 January 4 Arthur O’Keefe https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
- 2016 October 12 Stac
y Smart https://oag.ca.gov/missing/ person/stacey-ellen-smart
- 2017 March 1 Steven Lee Hixson https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
- 2017 March 26 Roger Her https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
person/roger-her Roger her
- 2017 May 15 Johnson Nguyen https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
person/johnson-nguyen See also Four missing
- 2017 May 16 Tony Sysavanh https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
person/tony-sysavanh See also Four missing
- 2017 May 16 Dan Anh Nguyen https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
person/dan-anh-nguyen See also Four missing
- 2017 May 17 Anesi Saut https://oag.ca.gov/missing/
person/anesi-saut See also Four missing
NOTE: An earlier version of this story pictured a woman who we have learned has been located. We removed her image.
UPDATE 2/28/18: Lucas Dale Blake-Williams body has been found and identified.
UPDATE 3/5/18: Mitchell Hernandez’s body was found and identified.