Missing Eureka Man Linked to Burning Van Found With Body in It, Says Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office

Fire personnel and smoking vehicle

Fire snakes around the still smoking vehicle at yesterday’s crime scene. [Photo by Senet Kelly]

Press release from the Mendocino Sheriff’s Office:

On 11-24-2018 around 1:13 PM a citizen reported a vehicle fire at mile marker 100 on North Highway 1, just south of the Town of Leggett.

Van that was set on fire

Burning van seen on Hwy 1 yesterday. [Photo by Senet Kelly]

The citizen reportedly saw an adult male, possibly in his 50’s, wearing a white jump suit and heavy logging style boots fleeing the scene.  The witness indicated the man’s legs appear to be on fire as he was last seen running onto a private gated logging road to the southeast of Highway 1.Personnel from the California Highway Patrol, Leggett Valley Fire Department and Cal Fire personnel responded to the scene to extinguish the fire and discovered a deceased male inside the vehicle.  Emergency personnel saw what appeared to be numerous bullet holes in the side of the van and a gun was located on the ground nearby.
cCharred items found where the van was originally parked.

Charred items found where the van was originally parked. [Photo by Jamie Rennie]

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office initiated a criminal investigation into a possible homicide based upon witness statements and evidence located at the scene. The Mendocino County Inter-agency SWAT Team was requested to assist with a search of the nearby logging roads where the suspect was last seen.  A search of the area was conducted but the suspect was not located.

Frank Pinckney

Frank Pinckney

The suspect was described as a white male, in his 50’s, approximately 6’00” tall, weighing approximately 180 pounds.  The suspect may have suffered burns to his legs, hands, and may have singed hair.

The burned vehicle, a 2004 White Ford Econoline Van (California Lic. #8Y79772), was registered to 58 year old Frank Pinckney, out of Eureka CA.  The vehicle is further described as being a utility van with a lift gate on the rear and a large mirror attached to the back door.  At this time Frank Pinckney is missing and family members are concerned for his well being.  A vehicle similar to the involved van is pictured below.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s assistance.  Anyone with information related to the suspect or anyone who might have seen Frank Pinckney or his vehicle in the past several days is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office Communications Center at 707-463-4086 or the Sheriff’s Tip Line at 707-234-2100.white van

Video of the burning van from Senet Kelly

Earlier Chapter: Body Found in Burning Van; Witness Describes Encounter With Suspect



  • Bullet holes in the side of the van. Why not just shoot the hole in the gas tank?

  • Kym’s on it! As usual. Kym Kemp for President 2020!

  • I still think he got part of his idea from that Lansley fellow.

  • Investigate properly

    Appears to be burned and charred cardboard between the Pot Pipe and the Drill. Place of Ignition?

    • that’s aluminum coated insulation. there is a strip of melted aluminum under where the middle of the vehicle was.

  • Why would someone need a large mirror in their van?

    • It’s on the back of the van, not in the back of the van.

      • Okay so why would someone need a large mirror attached to the outside of their rear van door?

        • Sharpen your pencil

          How the hell else are you supposed to back something with a lift gate close if you cant see behind the vehicle. Have you ever noticed all mail trucks have the same? [edit]

          • Well if it were me I would use the two side mirrors but actually on vehicles like this there are usually 4 of them so I would use those 4 mirrors. That’s how the hell I would do it.

            The reason I asked about the mirror is because when I read the description of “a large mirror attached to the back door” I don’t get the image of the type of mirror you’re talking about. Maybe I’m wrong and that’s just fine but I just don’t consider those to be “large” mirrors. It’s pretty god damn irrelevant anyway [edit]

    • IN the van is obvious. Boom chicka wow wow.

  • Thank you for the video!

    I`ve seen lots of burned cars but never have seen one on fire. So interesting to hear the crackling and popping and hear the tires hiss and pop as they burned through.

    Thank you for showing us something most never get to see!!

  • Lost Croat Outburst

    This could easily have started a major conflagration.

  • Why the peaple that got thar never even tryed to look and see if any one was in thar stupid cell phones agine got to use that camera think thar doing something by takeing pitchers

    • Sharpen your pencil

      Or maybe they were told not to contaminate the crime scene….. Would love to watch [edit] you try to access a burning car and not end up severely injured or dead yourself…. Two deaths don’t make one life…..

      • Anti troll league

        First you have no business calling anyone a name. Second a person who did rescue a person from a burning vehicle would likely be called a hero. Lastly there is nothing to suggest they didn’t try.

        • @ “R-DOG” — Also, the person who discovered this (we know him personally) thought the man on fire is who needed help, and then things quickly escalated, what with the VAN BEING ON FIRE thing.

  • The Postal Service put mirrors on the rear of its trucks after kids started catching rides on the rear bumpers. The mailman is supposed to stop the truck and shoo off anyone catching a ride there. Found this out the hard way while working as a mailman.

  • If this van’s a burning don’t bother knocking.

  • his pic was captured on a wildlife cam, those darn meddling kids.

  • Sonshyne Overstreet

    I’m not REALLY surprised by some people,it really is a Tragic time for the FAMILY!Which I am a close FRIEND,do you people have NO sympathy or compassion in your Cold dark 💓 ???Have you No respect for others?? Hasn’t the world seen enough suffering?
    What if was YOUR FAMILY?? How would you feel??

  • Bunch of sociopaths up here by the looks of these comments. Time to move somewhere a bit more civilized I’m thinkin…

  • Sending best wishes to the loved ones of the deceased! I hope the suspect is apprehended quickly

  • Thank you.

  • I just don’t understand,if you watch someone get into a burning van wouldn’t you TRY to help, not go move your car,and wait and watch some one dye, isn’t it just as bad as killing someone ?

    • Please think before blaming witnesses. It makes people reluctant to come forward and talk about what they see. Jamie didn’t see anyone get into a van. He saw the man, according to this law enforcement press release, “running onto a private gated logging road to the southeast of Highway 1.”

      • When the perp is caught, along with a long sentence he should be nominated for a Darwin award.

        He may have survived this time but it sure wasn’t because of intelligence.

        And consolations to the deceased friends and family!

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