Drowning in the Mattole

On 07-07-2011, approximately 2:00 p.m. the Humboldt County Sheriffs Office received a call from a citizen who told the dispatcher another citizen had found a deceased male in the Mattole river near 400 Country Lane, in the Dutyville area of Southern Humboldt.

The citizen who recovered the body had wrapped the deceased male in a blanket and loaded the deceased male into his pick truck and was driving the deceased to the Jerold Phelps Hospital. At approximately 2:15 p.m. deputies responded to Jerold Phelps Hospital, in Garberville and they met with the citizen who drove the body to the hospital.

The citizen told them a neighbor who owned property along the Mattole River had looked into the river and saw the body floating in it. The neighbor notified the citizen of what she found and asked for help. The citizen decided to remove the body from the river since there was no cell phone service where they were to notify law enforcement. After the citizen loaded the body into his truck, he notified a friend to call law enforcement once he had cell service to tell them he was bringing the deceased to the hospital.

After deputies interviewed the citizen who brought the body to the hospital they notified the Humboldt County Corner who also responded to the hospital. An investigation into the death determined the deceased was a Hispanic Laborer who been living and working in the area and had been an unreported missing person since 07-06-2011. The Coroner and deputies determined the deceased, an approximate 25-year-old Hispanic Male, had died from drowning.

Deputies interviewed friends and neighbors and learned the deceased had wanted to learn to swim and had apparently gone to the river alone, and drowned. The Humboldt County Corner is still working on positive identification of the deceased and notification of kin. It is believed the deceased is a Mexican National. The investigation at this time revealed no evidence of foul play.

Anyone with information regarding this case is requested to contact the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Garberville Station, 707-923-2761.

Mike Downey

  • Laytonville Rock

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