Alderpoint Death Raises ‘a Lot of Questions,’ Says Humboldt County Coroner

When the body of the 71-year-old Alderpoint resident was initially found beside the road on January 21, the initial theory was that he had been struck by a car, said Ernie Stewart Humboldt County’s Chief Deputy Coroner. But, Stewart said, the autopsy recently performed ruled that out.

Currently, his office is hoping that toxicology reports can give more information.

The deceased was found with no identification on him and the Coroner’s Office only learned his name late last night. Contact has been made with people who knew him but as of 11:30 a.m. today the man’s kin had not been located and informed. A deputy coroner is in the Southern Humboldt area investigating today.

“There are a lot of questions in this case,” Stewart said. One of the major questions, he stated, was the question of how the deceased ended up alongside the road in such a rural area. The area, he said, “was far enough [from the resident’s home] that it raises a lot of concerns.”

Map below shows how remote the area is.



  • (Sigh) This is not an “Alderpoint” death. The map shows a location well over 10 miles from Alderpoint and closer to Garberville than Alderpoint. “Pratt Mountain” death might be a more accurate description. Yes, the body was found on the Alderpoint Road, but the Alderpoint Road is 36 miles long and runs from Garberville to Bridgeville. I don’t know who this person was, and so I don’t know whether he was actually, as described, an “Alderpoint resident.” I am an Alderpoint resident. If I am injured in Ukiah is this another “Alderpoint” headline? Alderpoint is actually a nice place to live and while I have no objections to telling it like it is, I do have objections to telling it like it isn’t. Give us poor Alderpillians a break, please.

    • Ed, When writing a headline I have to be accurate and as short as possible and still let readers know whether this is a story they want to follow. Alderpoint is a word that has been associated with everything about this death so far. He was found along Alderpoint Road, he comes from Alderpoint and to many people anything east of Garberville all the way up to Blocksburg belongs in the “Alderpoint” category. Ideally the headline would read: The Distance of Deceased Man Whose Body was Found Near Alderpoint Road But Closer to Garberville Than Alderpoint Was Found From His Residence Raises Several Important Questions in the Mind of Deputy Coroner Ernie Stewart. That’s a little long though.

      • Maybe it could read Man FROM Alderpoint, not Alderpoint Death.

        • Honestly, I bet if I wasn’t putting out multiple other stories I could have come up with a better headline. And Ed’s right that precision would have been better. In my defense, I’d been working on that story for hours as other stories poured in…including a shootout with police in Eureka. And I manged to stay up with and even ahead of other news teams. I finally managed to get a headline on this piece and get it out so people could better understand what was happening in an odd death in our area. (It is just me most of the time including yesterday.) By the time I answered Ed, I was exhausted and somewhat cranky. But, he’s right. I could have been more precise.

    • I’ve never heard of anyone from alderpoint refering to themselves or anyone from there as “Alderpillians”…Alderpointians, maybe…And secondly it’s not like a slightly misleading headline (in some peoples opinion obviously) is gonna tarnish AP’s fabulous reputation. every long time sohum local can tell you exactly where ‘murder mountain’ is…


        Then you would know that Alderpoint and The Rancho Sequoia Subdivision aka “murder mountain” are not that same place.

      • I always thought “murder mountain” was closer to Benbow. I think the name may have been free floating and gotten attached to the Rancho Sequoia when a couple of murders occurred up there. We are all tabloid lovers at heart.

    • With all due respect for Ed, I’m on Kym’s side. She got the story out there and the text made the location pretty clear. We Benbowillians have our own burden to carry.

    • Teri Davidson Wilson

      Yes, Hugh Duggins was an Alderpoint resident for decades.
      He owned his home located right in the center of town. I will miss my good friend forever. Although, some might have known him for his gruff exterior, his smile could light up a room. The loving memories he has left me and my family, I will be ever grateful.
      Hugh Duggins was a very good man.

      • Thank you, Teri. Hugh was my brother. You described him perfectly. Gruff on the outside, but a heart of gold on the inside.

  • Kimbery Clark Arvizu

    Just for info , This person was not a druggie , was a long term resident of Alderpoint, and a very up standing man of our community . It is a very strange situation. I can only hope and pray someone finds the truth. I agree with Ed, it is a nice little community, with lots of awesome people living there.

  • Hugh Duggins was an Alderpoint resident for more than 30 years and a very good person. I hope they can figure out what happened to him. He was my friend and I will miss him.

  • Dyerville Loop is Not Alderpoint

    Thanks for your reporting Kym; you’ve been a very reliable and timely source of local news. Totally get it about deadlines, and just getting it out there.

    Suggested change: “Alderpoint Man’s Death Raises a Lot of Questions” keeps it from sounding like the death occurred in Alderpoint. Where it happened is still unknown, right?

    All the same, as you can see from comments, it’s a long-standing issue for people around here when it seems like every bad thing that happens anywhere along the AP road, from Gville to Bridgeville is labeled “Alderpoint”. Long before you started reporting, the newspapers did the same thing, and folks got their dander up. They just didn’t have the speed of computers to make comments about it!

  • The body was found on Alderpoint rd. Everybody take 5 chill pills! If a body is found on Alderpoint rd most locals would say a body was found in the Alderpoint area and then anyone that actually knows that area will ask where in that area. Calm down, what’s important is the guy who passed away, not how it’s worded in the headlines, geez. Ive lived on Dyerville and Rancho Sequoia, when people asked where I live I always said Alderpoint area and i was %100 correct!

  • Now, its been weeks since his autopsy. Can we know more? He’d been accused of crimes before his death. Why is his body miles down the road from any town? Thank you

    • According to the Coroner, ” At autopsy, forensic pathology found no evidence of decedent dying from causes criminal in nature. The cause and manner of death are pending toxicology and histology.” I’ll ask for more information though.

    • Hugh Duggins was my friend and to say such terrible lies after his passing is shameful. He was NOT accused of any crimes before his death.
      Shame on you. Hugh was a good and honest man.

  • Lawrence Candel

    Now I never lived in Alderpoint, but my dad would drive around and look at property back in the 70’s. It appeared to be a quaint historic town. Very quiet and was it was losing population at one point. We never did move to Alderpoint, but I agree murder or missing persons can happen anywhere and shouldn’t be attached to the town’s name.

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