Humboldt Couple Assaulted by Man While Stopped at Lake Mendocino

Badly scraped shoulder

The badly scratched shoulder of Melissa Swartz. [Photo provided by Jeremy Swartz]

Yesterday, on their way back from a post op surgery appointment for Jeremy Swartz, Fortuna resident and former Miranda firefighter, a man assaulted first Swartz and then his wife, Melissa, in front of their two daughters.

Swartz had just had a torn disk repaired and was still very weak. As they traveled north the Fortuna family decided to stop at Lake Mendocino and let the girls,  ages ten and four, cool off by splashing around.

When they arrived at the lake, Swartz said they saw Safeway bag hanging near a trashcan.  Assuming it had been abandoned, Swartz said he looked in and saw that there was a container of sun protection. He said he opened the container and determined it was really sun protection. He covered his kids and wife with the lotion.

At that moment a shirtless white man between 6 foot and 6’2″ wearing nothing but black and blue checked board shorts (similar to these) advanced on the family. “He came straight at me,” Swartz said.

“WTF, are you going through my stuff,” he asked.

Swartz said he protested that he thought the stuff was trash. Without warning, the man punched him.

woman withBruising behind the left ear.

Bruising behind the left ear of Melissa Swartz. [Photo provided by Jeremy Swartz]

Swartz said in his weakened state he was knocked to the ground instantly and before he could react his wife jumped in front of him. “She’s my badass shield,” he said. The man then struck her. When he was going after Swartz on the ground once more, she again stood between them.

Then, Swartz said, “He punched her in the face…He sent her tumbling…She bounced right back up like she was on rubber bands.” Again she stood between her downed husband and the man who had hit her. This time, Swartz said, the man stared at her for a moment and then raced off up the hill to his vehicle and took off.

Bystanders called 911. Deputy CJ Denton from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department responded. He tried to locate the man who took off in a silvery gold Mitsubishi 4 door sedan. But so far the BOLO hasn’t resulted in any leads.

To Swartz, his wife, who he has been with for 13 years, is his hero. “She’s a badass!” he said. “She’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Sgt. Scott Poma of the Mendocino Sheriff’s Department said that the man in the boardshorts is wanted for assault.

If you have any information, you can call law enforcement at (707) 463-4411.



  • one of the reasons i do not pick up trash anymore . people are so sicko and angry and mean !

  • Couple of red flags here. That’s why I never go through abandoned bags hanging from trees. I would have expected a hydopermic needle. Would never trust contents enough to spread all over my family either. I will be watching out for this guy though.

  • Sorry for his wife but that guy is a pos never pays anyone back he owes glad he got what he had coming not glad it was in front of his family though as for a fire fighter he was barely on that department and never lived anywhere but fortuna while on the department so that’s that just setting the record straight

    • ^^^ #ugly

    • Lol, the guy who rummages through other people’s belongings and helps himself never pays people back?? You don’t say.

    • Yup, The man is all a bunch of lies.

    • Tired of mean people

      [edit] No matter what he has done no one deserves that. The bag was hanging by the trash so yes I would have picked it up. Probably wouldn’t have used it but thrown it away. You need to stop throwing crap because it will come back at you one day.

  • That story really captured a traumatic experience.
    Good thing it did not go worse. What the hell was it the heat or something?

  • local truthteller

    Let us please remember to not re-victimize victims by being critical in comments. I respect this strong woman and the man strong enough to celebrate her strength. Thank heavens the children are ok and may their spirits heal soon!

  • Well I guess it’s not just eureka! That Sucks. what kind of [edit] hits a woman! Wish I was there to help. Hope he is found soon.

  • You go girl!!!let know man stand between her and her man!!a girl after my own heart. You have to defend yourself these days. I hope their going to get soon quick.

  • Gross, I would never use used, anonymous, or questionable lotion ever, and I especially would not use it on my kids.

  • She sounds like a badass & protective Mama bear came out in her. Way to go girl!!!! It takes a great man to praise his woman for protecting him!! Remember men that woman can be badasses too 💪

  • Shitty thing to happen and I hope they catch the assHole. A good code to live by and avoid problems is, if it’s not yours don’t touch it.

  • Jeeze… Some people sure are touchy about sharing their sunscreen.

    You are lucky to have such a great woman beside you.

  • Well I like to cool off at Lake Mendocino also, and a much better physical description would be very helpful. A bit more details from each family member would help us look out for this loony boon. Guarantee this is not a one time only freak-out for this nut!
    Hope the family is OK and not too traumatized by this…poor kids.

    • Should be easy to find, he’s the 6’2″ sunburnt white guy lol. Or you could just run around putting on random peoples sunscreen and I’m sure he’ll just find you. Be sure you have a badass woman with you he can try to beat up to distract him while you call the police.

  • What an awful story. Lake county swim spots might have locals who are intoxicated or otherwise on drugs! Be careful where you take your children! Punching a woman is never acceptable! Before you get violent with a Humbolt County Woman, consider what she might do to you while defending her family!
    If you need medical care, remember, there are two emergency rooms, one in Ukiah, and a nice new one in Willits.

  • …it rubs the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again….

  • Their are places where they leave sunscreen for folks. And water etc: True deal

    • Safe to say that this was not one of those complimentary sunscreen drop-off stations. Doesn’t sound like it anyway. If it was, the vendor does not have great customer service skills.

  • Sometimes super human strength rises up and one has to fight! However, I would not use someone else’s sunscreen as one can never be sure what it is in it – always wise to keep your own with you at all times. Summer in the Emerald Triangle is just not like it use to be around here. But even back in the 1980’s and 90’s one would still see an occasional unsavory grifter roaming the river bar. Stay safe everyone and be aware of your surroundings.


  • Well yippy frigin skippy,good for you!

  • Hey guess that comment hurt white man’s feelings!

  • Chronic back pain, guarantee pain killers, rummaging through plastic bags looking for drugs? , just another addict putting his family in harm’s way .

    • Well that’s a stretch!

    • Sounds like a guess to me stoned ranger.
      Not back pain, back surgery.. which they dont perform due to “chronic pain”.
      Of all the addicts that Humboldt does hold like this lonely ranger, jeremy def is not one..nor would he put his fam in harms way.
      This guy dedicates his life to fire and contracting and saving your fn government land and your fn back yard ranger. Talk some more shit before you meet somebody… see how much of an ass it makes ya look like.

  • Sunscreen and pills are more important than a family with that kind of ordeal. No mention of the two kids and their experience, who can the family take the kids to for that traumatic. Anybody wondered about how the wife is. No no nothing. sunscreen and pills such a good topic. Would you be clowning your sister or cousin or family member sunscreen if they experience that. That’s a good question whatever sunscreen….

  • no one deserves this treatment at ALL. EVER.


    Why the hell would you go look in a random bag at the GARBAGE CAN?

    Then assuming there is some purpose for this action (wtf would it be???).. You find sunscreen. You open it and determine it is, in fact, sunscreen…

    You’re apparently 100% sure random garbage bag sunscreen is not tainted by anything. (Hi, person could have communicable skin diseases and got too much lotion and then put some back in the bottle.. among other things)..

    So you proceed to rub sunscreen from a random bag at the GARBAGE all over your family


    I’ll risk sunburn!

    This whole thing makes no sense

  • I bet you libs think this is President Trumps fault too, just saying!

  • Folks looking to cool off in “lake” Mendocino should be aware that they are soaking in Potter Valley’s BIG septic tank with the addition of the poisons and agricultural run-off of the PV grapes and cow dung. A minor scratch will infect almost immediately. Ick.

  • put the lotion in the basket

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