[UPDATE 10:48 p.m.: Death Likely Accidental] Body Found Near Garberville in Eel River

Body found in Eel River mapTwo women inner tubing on the Eel River discovered a body alongside the Eel River. Stephani Swinger and Adrienne Griffith said they saw the man about 4 p.m. near Garberville as they were floating beside steep cliffs.

Swinger said the man was laying on his side at kind of an odd angle with his right arm extended and there was a backpack near him. At first, they hoped he was just asleep so they called out to him to wake up. “There was no response,” Swinger said so she kept moving closer. “I kept looking for breathing but there wasn’t any….The body was swollen. There were flies around the eyes and mouth.”

Swinger said she saw what she thought might be two wounds in his back. “It looked like he had been shot twice,” she said. “They were two identical puncture wounds.” (We want to caution this is her opinion, not an official report.)

At that point, Griffith said she called for law enforcement help.

Members of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office are now at the scene. We have requested more information.

UPDATE 10:48 p.m.: According to Lt. Ken Swithenbank, the death appears to be accidental at this point.

Sheriff Car by freeway

A Humboldt County Sheriff’s car parked on Hwy 101 above where the body was located. [Photo by Bobby Kroeker]

A sheriff’s deputy crosses the Eel River to where the body was located. [Photo by Bobby Kroeker]

Note: In August of 2016, a body was found very close to where this body has been discovered.

UPDATE Monday: Massachusetts Man Identified After Being Found Deceased Near Garberville Cliff



  • Welcome to summer in SoHum.

  • Makes me wonder if the poor deceased dog tied to the abandoned car that was found by the tow truck driver will have something to do with this.

  • Another body…hmmmm maybe someone’s favorite place to get rid of the deceased. Welcome to the Emarld Triangle

  • Wild, wild, west…

  • Veterans friend

    I hope y’all will remember this is somebody’s loved one.
    Try hard to stay respectful.

    • long walk short pier

      How do you know this is someone’s loved one? All his family could be gone and could have no friends. He could have been a terrible person you never know!

      • That’s a sad statement.Sounds like your faith in humanity is lost . I dislike the traisiant presence here just as much as the next person it’s important to remember this is someone’s bother farther or son . And someone’s world is about to change forever. I hope this brings peace and closer to to a grieving family member.

      • Veterans friend

        Your name is perfect. Take the walk.

      • Kym kemp do us ALL a big favor? Remove the comment part of your reporting, please? I loose hope in humanity when I read what your readers post. I could see if they helped solve some of these things but they really do more harm to the other readers, loved ones, victims of these crimes, mothers that have lost their children.
        It’s really hurtful and unbelievable what comes out of the mouths of these “community members.”
        All I want for Christmas is too read a story and not read the comment aftermath train wreck that is usually worst than the story… It shows how ignorant this group of people are. I’m surprised they can read. Once again my thoughts and prayers go out to the victim and his family and friends~
        Jennifer if there is anything I can do to be of some help please contact me. I’m very sorry for your loss!

        • Debra, some people tell me they enjoy the comment section the most. A conversation between differing parts of the community is interesting if not always heartwarming. But for those who don’t like the comment section, just don’t scroll down.

      • That was actually a very ignorant thing to say! EVERYONE is a loved one to SOMEONE. this was my step dad, my sisters father! And no he was not the greatest, up standing guy, but he wasnt a scum bag either.. n he don’t deserve to be talked about like this, by someone like u, who knows not one thing about him! U dont seem to be the greatest person urself, after making a comment like this..So keep Your ignorance and irrelevant comment to yourself. Thanks

        • I’m so sorry for you and your families loss. Also, for all the unnecessary judgemental cruelty people post on here. Love to you and yours.

      • Missing you in the berkshires

        He was a gentle, sweet,compassionate soul. He will be missed

    • Thank you,ive sed before if you dont have enything nice to say dont say enything at all peace to the famley

      • Do yourself & the rest of us as well, use a dictionary,dictionary.com is free & easy to find & use!!! Proper spelling makes your post more readable & easier to understand!!! Thus you get your point across easier & better!!! Just saying, not ragging… YET!!!

    • Thank you for commenting about his loved ones!!! I am his sister and just received the call!! He was a good man!!!!

    • cathy ann heap

      You are totally 1000 % right about that,someone just lost their love ❤ one .this is totally 1000 % unbelievable and so many deaths around this river.so,so sad 😢 😢 😢 😢 🙍 🙍 🙍 🙍 🙍 🙍 💔 💔 💔 💔 💔 💔 💔 💔 💔 💔.

  • This is sad rip ….

  • Humboldt HEll

  • The casualties of the greenrush,
    Someone keep count!
    Shot in the back twice,..
    Sad times, its apparent the elephant that sat in the corner of the room all these years switched corners,..
    Deal,gone bad? Parnter gone mad?
    Iys too lame for the man.

  • 😭Lord have mercy! I’m so sorry to the family of this lost sole. R.I.P

  • Honeydew Bridge C.H.U.M.P.

    Garberville may have a serial killer?

  • God rest him

  • Another sad state of affairs.

  • What was the location, and do you mean the South Fork Eel River if its near Garberville?

    • The body was located south of the Bear Canyon Bridge near where the pipe crosses the Eel River to the ponds.

      • Kym it’s my Friday night Saturday night drinking beer day off actually I worked all day today but I got maybe an hour left in me before I go to bed could u just go to bed so my s**t will be on the website till morning before I get edited Ha

      • You mean the Garberville sewer treatment plant, right? And it’s not the Eel River, it’s the South Fork Eel River.

        • Ed, Your full name is Edward. I never use that though. True, the South Fork of the Eel River flows past Garberville. But, as you know, most of us locals shorten that to the Eel. I write for a local audience (either folks who live here now or who have lived here.) All of them know there is a main stem of the Eel and a South Fork, etc. And they mostly have wrapped their head around the fact that the big waterway flowing past Garberville is the South Fork of the Eel (known affectionally as the Eel.)

          • But it don’t make it right, does it. Do you call it Eel High School or South Fork?

            • Ernie Branscomb

              First, one must answer how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

            • I usually call it South Fork but its full name is South Fork High School. Language is about communication. If I’m communicating my meaning, I’m happy with the results. You knew I what I was referring to when I called it the Eel. I’m happy.

              • Kym, thank for this reply. You have no idea how many stories that I have been intently listening to be interrupted by some rude ultra-correct jerk. (not Ed) A correction almost always ruins the story. Usually the story is clear to the listener, or they wouldn’t have known the “correct word”. Same goes for spelling and many other corrections.

                If the story is not clear, a polite question can clear it up. The questions don’t need to be rude and mean. Some of us are good at some things and not others. Whenever I began feeling inadequate in the presence of someone much more clever than me. I remind myself that they probably can’t build a refrigerator….. I can.

                • Ernie, you should not have put a period after “more clever than me” because the next sentence is part of the “more clever than me” sentence. You can thank me later.

        • It drives me nuts when people call the SF, the Eel. It’s 2 completely different places and different water characteristics. Yes, it’s part of the mainstem Eel, but it’s the South Fork Eel. Of course when you give a location, like Garberville, we know it’s the South Fork Eel. Not harshing on Kym, just a hang up I have.

        • OCD Ed, did you by any chance mean the Garberville Sanitary District Community Wastewater Treatment Facility?

  • Well it’s near the bum camps that are full of drug addicts and trimagrants everyone feels so sorry for so I’m assuming it was probably natural causes, Being shot or stabbed in the back is natural causes in humboldt these days.

    • just going on record to say that the homeless population seems to be about half what it was two years ago. if you can believe anything loco posts anyway.
      also. have you noticed theres a huge worldwide problem with homelessness called the refuge crisis?
      im just wondering as the worldwide economy melts down and the glaciers too, and world war wages in more nations than not, what we intend to do with economic refuges (the homeless) rising tide refuges and war refuges? we need a plan other than “not here.” otherwise we are really going to be having FEMA camps. and real people are going to be locked inside razor wire fences on American soil for the crime of being poor or crazy etc.
      i personally think crazy little ideas like getting our economy back together and having jobs and hope would be the answer to our domestic homeless problem.
      and i also think other crazy thoughts like if resources, goods and services are going to be globalized under free trade then its only reasonable that the economic element known as labour should also flow freely.

  • Probably a drifter, hope they can find next of kin, at least he was found

  • A nasty way to start the Spring into Summer season, so far we have found a dead dog under questionable circumstances now a human with a similar situation!!! To quote John Lennon,”Strange Days Indeed”!!!

  • This is the third “accidental” death from these cliffs between Redway and Garberville in the last year. How many bodies is it gonna take? How many cold case homocides have to rack up before our sheriffs department allocates the appropriate funds to hire a full and competent staff of detectives and forensic specialists? If this were anywhere else in CA we would have some results to show for all of these homicides and “accidental” deaths. Murderers…. our community is full of murderers that have been getting away with murder for a very long time, and it gets worse every year. Ahhhh but the growers! The devils lettuce is the real problem!! …bunch of bullshit. Quit waisting our tax dollars trying to seize money and assets and do your god damned jobs. Protect and serve. Find the serial killer…. there I said it. SERIAL KILLER.

    • Mmmm…. I could kill some Cap’n Crunch right now

    • Well said!

      Except for the “devil’s lettuce” part. Devil’s lettuce has saved my life. I suffer from severe chronic pain & opiate pain medication almost killed. “Devil’s lettuce took the pain away, it’s all natural & no side effects.

      • I’m not anti cannabis I’m pro cannabis, that part of the rant was sarcasm. I think our precious tax dollars are waisted on code enforcement and regulation of the only thing anyone seems to care about and that is cannabis.

    • Dude no serial killer. Theres hundreds of bums that ” live” at and visit the top of those bluffs. One slip n its a long way down.Now throw drugs n alcohol in the mix….. some street person slipped n fell n the dark and plumented 300 ft to he/shes death…… wait… unless someone pushed em off? Hmmmmmm

      • Unless someone pushed three people in the last year and the poor woman who “fell” 6 years ago between redway and garb.

    • Maybe I’m wrong but I saw someone describe that area as:
      “Just like Little House on the Prairie”


    • fall off a cliff and you likely die,could have been stuck by branches or jagged rocks.They haven’t figured out a way to stop em on the golden gate from jumping, they have cameras and enforcement watching there.So I doubt garberville is going to figure a way to ensure homeless,transients,and bums don’t slip and fall off those steep cliff trails.Long as there is a cliff,someone will figure a way to jump off it,no amount of spending will solve that

  • Makes me wonder if maybe this is the owner of the dog find tied to the abandoned car….

    Hopefully their family can have some peace when the bastard who killed this man is caught.

    Shot in the back means he was walking or running away. Why would you need to shoot someone in the back?!?

    Come on Humboldt, get your act together!! Murder is wrong no matter the reason!

  • K. Swithenbanks is an inept idiot. Sorry that’s all I have to say

    • you need to shut up [edit] Kenny is bad ass

      • no, only if you are a white guy who grew up here will he ever help you. if you are a woman, he cant help you; a minority: he cant help you; mentally ill: he’s much too busy to help. and he says things like “if you have a dangerous neighbor, you should buy a gun.” no, kenny swithenbank was as close to being fired as a cop gets when he was escorted to the north county with a face-saving promotion. another good ol boy saved by his “support” system. but that does not make him a bad ass, just makes him another bad cop.

  • This is so silly, I have to respond. The deceased man fell from the cliff (yes, where homeless/drug addicted folks reside). He was very jacked up from the fall but was not shot. He was in his 30s, had a backpack, illicit drugs on him and no id. There are your real facts, from a first responder at the scene.

    • I like how no one responds to the only real information on this thread. Thanks to you for posting this!

    • Thank you for the info and your service to the community! Much appreciated

    • Sure are is a lot of folks falling off cliffs around here. I guess that’s going to be the official assessment for every person that tumbles to their death off of this one mile stretch of cliffs. They fell. Absolutley zero possiblitity that someone could be pushing people off of cliffs.

    • Those are not facts he was 44 a father of 3 my father mind you and a amazing person so before you people come on here thinking this is funny keep in mind how you would feel if this was your father or mother my children no longer have a grandfather I no longer have a father you people must feel so amazing about yourself

    • I hope the family gets answers that they so desperately need right now. They are thousands of miles away and are grieving so please be respectful. This was my daughters father whom she loved no matter what he did in life.

  • Good night sweetheart

  • It just goes to show you the level of intelligence of the idiot who called me a bitch and said K. Swithenbanks is awesome. Do your research you backwoods hillbilky

  • And just so you know, [edit] A few years back when of my friends being a female was assaulted terribly by someone. And that someone was personal friends of Mr. Swithenbanks and he personally fixed it so that person did not get in any trouble at all so before you call people a bitch make sure you know what you’re talking about

    • Everyone is entitled to their opinion and, in the tradition of American free speech, I give quite a bit of leeway to folks commenting about people in power, which Kenny qualifies as. So though I have serious reservations about anonymous people making accusations, I’ll let this stand.

      However, I’m certainly not around Kenny all the time but he’s never been anything but fair that I’ve seen.

      • Veterans friend

        I am generally no friend of law enforcers…but I concur, Kym.

      • Hello my bar is Jennifer and I am this unknown mans sister. He is not from Humbolt County he is from Massachusetts. He is a father of 3 girls and has 2 grandchildren. He was not shot he was nothing of these things that have been said about him. He was an extremely giving man who loved life and his family. So for my families sake and his families sake please keep all horrible comments to yourself. He was and always will be loved!!!!

        • SO sorry for your loss!!! :-C

        • May you brother Rest In Peace, and may the Lord give you and your family strength to get through this horrific time. I am so sorry for the loss your family is going through. 💔 Don’t read the comments anymore. People are so mean and have nothing better to do with their time, other than speculate and think they’re funny, at the pain of your family. 😞 Praying for you all. ❤️

  • Yikes, can you say escalation?

  • I love how these threads steer off topic!🤡 Its trumps fault. He and his advisarys are……. blah blah. Please fill in the blanks for me. Lol

  • My condolences to his loved ones.
    and to the community who will eventually be flooded with spending budget meetings for million dollar environmental studies for warning signs.
    Watch your step, it’s a doozey.

    • Thank you for your condolences!! He was not from California he was from Massachusetts. He is a father of 3 girls and had 2 grandchildren.

  • In case anyone wonders, there were quite a few comments deleted. (Sheesh, can’t I sleep once in awhile.)

  • So I knew someone that was very drunk that fell off those cliffs once when the car she was in stopped to change a flat tire. Only reason she lived was because there were people there to provide rescue help immediately. Nothing saying this person didn’t just fall while walking, or was caught off balance when a vehicle drove by oh so fast and close? Or yeah, possible some one pushed them.

  • Drugs = crime. You get the community you deserve.

    Love how people talk about things in their community and do NOTHING.

    They just whine. Like this.

    • Veterans friend

      Falling off a cliff is not a crime. It’s an ACCIDENT

    • These are the same fake hippie drive back to the landers that said ‘F*** the cops’ and ‘CAMP out of Humboldt county’. Sometimes you have to watch what you wish for.

  • I propose using Measure S money to fund a bright blinking neon sign that reads Free Drugs and it to be hung directly above the Bluff.
    They’ll follow each other off just like lemmings. Xoxo

  • Anyone Remember longtime ago? My longtime friend was walking home from a Garberville nightclub early morning hours. Someone found Bart Murrish,Bart fell off the cliff and ended up along the river. If I remember right 200ft fall. I miss Bart R.I.P.

  • Capitalist pig

    Bart murrish

  • Capitalist pig

    Miss ya

  • may he Rest In Peace…someone knew him…the truth will surface it always does.

  • They need to put up a anti jump fence and electrified it ,so the jumpers think twice about jumping off the cliff.


  • Muddy Black Dodge

    Dan Fuller, go away. You really should move, you don’t seem to like it here. Your​ comments​ are almost always negative, do yourself (and the rest of us) a favor… Move on negative Nancy.

  • Very sad I thought witness were suppose to be confidential though

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