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County of Mendocino

   
Missing Persons and Cold Cases
Missing Persons | Cold Cases

If you have any information on any missing person in Mendocino County, please contact 463-4086.

Click here to link to www.namus.gov — the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System

Cold Cases

 

On May 16, 2013, at 1200 hours, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office recevied a call from a person wanting to report a suspicious situation.

The caller had located a discarded refrigerator on a frontage road, along the railroad tracks at mile post marker 0.66 on Highway 162. The caller believed there were skeletal remains inside the refrigerator.

Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies responded to the scene and located what the caller had reported. The Deputies observed what they believed to be burnt human remains inside the discarded refrigerator.

Mendocino County Sheriff's Detectives were called to the scene and investigated the scene. As the scene was processed, Detectives located what they believed to be a charm bracelet or necklace with the remains. The bracelet was forwarded to the California Department of Justice for analysis and processing.

Sheriff's Detectives have requested the assistance of the Department of Anthropology at California Staet University, Chico in examing the human remains.

On January 27, 2014, Sheriff's Detectives received a report from the CSU-Chico Human identificaiton Laboratory in regards to the analysis of the human remains found on May 16, 2013 in Willits, CA. The results showed the human remains are believed to be that of a female, possibly adult and small in stature.

Sheriff Detectives have enlisted the assistance of the California Department of Justice in recovering DNA from bone to help establish a DNA profile for the remains. The DNA profile will be entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and use the DNA profile to compare against Mendocino County Sheriff's Office active missing persons cases.

Anyone with information in regards to this case is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.

 

MCSO Case #: 2013-15267

 

 

Sketch of charm bracelet or necklace found with remains.

Barry Pinder


John Doe
Items found at Piercy, CA site

Barry Pinder








 

 

On October 30, 2012 at 0659 hours, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a call from a person wanting to report a suspicious situation.

The caller had located a shoe protruding from the earth near the shore of the Eel River in the 83000 block of Highway 271. Upon closer examination the caller believed the shoe was attached to a human body.

A Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Patrol Sergeant and a Sheriff's Detective responded to the scene and located what the caller had reported.

During this time it was discovered that the shoe was associated with a shallow grave that contained the skeletal remains of a human body.

Sheriff's Detectives have requested the assistance of the Department of Anthropology at California State University, Chico in recovering the remains from the grave.


On March 11, 2013, Sheriff's Detectives received a report from the CSU-Chico Human Identification Laboratory in regards to the analysis of the human remains found on October 30, 2012 in Piercy, California.

The results of the analysis showed that the human remains are believed to be that of a white male adult, approximately 25-45 years of age with a height between 5 feet 11 inches and 6 feet 5 inches tall.

Sheriff's Detectives have enlisted the assistance of the California Department of Justice in recovering DNA from a bone to help establish a DNA profile for the remains.

Sheriff's Detectives hope to enter this DNA profile into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and use the DNA profile to compare against Mendocino County Sheriff's Office active missing persons cases.

Anyone with information in regards to this case is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.


On July 08, 1979 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a call from a person reporting the discovery of human remains in the area of Mile Post Marker 21.11 on Highway 20. This area was located between the city of Willits and the city of Fort Bragg in Mendocino County (California).

During a search of the rural area, Sheriff's Detective recovered the skeletal remains of two separate human bodies. Anthropologists determined the bodies to be that of a male and female. In 2001 DNA testing showed the bodies were not biologically related.

Over the course of the investigation, Sheriff's Detectives were able to obtain computer generated facial reconstructive sketches of the bodies.

The attached colors sketches were first obtained in the early 2000's from a forensic artist with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The picture of the bird is depicted as an earring (pierced ear type) that was recovered with the human remains.

In 2012 a more advanced 3D sketch process was used by a digital forensic artist with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children resulting in the attached black & white sketches. The new process and this specific case was featured in a BCC News television program (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18529366).

Anyone with information in regards to this case is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.

John Doe

  • Height:  5' 2" to 5' 11"
  • Race: White
  • Estimated Age: 10-20 years old
  • Date of Discovery: July 8, 1979
  • MCSO Case #: 1979-1900

Jane Doe

  • Height:  5' 3" to 6' 0"
  • Race: White
  • Estimated Age: 10-20 years old
  • Date of Discovery: July 8, 1979
  • MCSO Case #: 1979-1900

 

 

John and Jane Doe
Barry Pinder


Chris Robert Giauque

Chris Giauque
 

On the evening of August 9, 2003, Chris Robert Giauque went to the Spyrock Road area of Mendocino County and met with an associate near the Iron Peak lookout.  This area is located north of the town of Laytonville, California.

Chris Giauque was on probation for cultivation of marijuana and reportedly left his vehicle, a 1994 blue Toyota extra cab pickup truck at this location as he did not want to be seen in his truck on the property that he and the associate owned on Simmerly Road in Covelo, California.

Reportedly, the associate gave Chris Giauque a ride into and out of the property.  Chris Giauque was reportedly last seen in this area around 9:00 PM.  It is possible that Chris Giauque became a robbery-homicide victim.

Chris Giauque had made the trip to pick up a substantial amount of cash and it was possible that numerous people knew of the pending business transaction.

Chris Giauque's pickup truck was located on August 10, 2003 approximately 50 miles north of Spyrock Road and 3 miles south of Myers Flat on the Avenue of the Giants near Elk Creek Road in Humboldt County.  This location is north of Salmon Creek where Chris Giauque resided.

To this date, Chris Giauque's body has not been located and his father (Bob Giauque) has established a website to aid in the investigation.  The website located at www.chrisreward.org contains additional information on the circumstances of Chris Giauque's disappearance and an established reward. 

The investigation into Chris Giauque's  disappearance is being handled by the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office in conjunction with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

Anyone with information in regards to the disappearance of Chris Giauque is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.

  • Age at time of murder:  36 years-old
  • Height:  6' 0"
  • Weight:  145 lbs.
  • Hair:  Brown
  • Eyes: Blue
  • MCSO Case#:  03-3247
  • Date of disappearance:  August 9, 2003

On June 18, 1974, 21-year-old Barry Kirk Pinder was found murdered at his campsite inside MacKerricher State Park just north of Fort Bragg.  An autopsy revealed the cause of death to be blunt force trauma.

Neighboring campers reported seeing three to four male subjects in the campsite the prior evening along with a motorcycle.  The following day Pinder was found deceased underneath a picnic table and the motorcycle was no longer at the location.

Anyone with information in regards to the murder of Barry Kirk Pinder is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.

 

  • Age at time of murder:  21 years-old
  • Height:  6'  1"
  • Weight:  180 lbs.
  • Hair:  Blonde
  • MCSO Case#:  74-41358  Automated Report# 06-3774
  • Date of murder:  June 18, 1974
 

Barry Kirk Pinder
Barry Pinder


Clyde Donald Stanley
Clyde Donald Stanley
 

On March 6, 1988 the remains of Clyde Donald Stanley, 31-year-old male from Fort Bragg, were found underneath a refrigerator in the area commonly referred to a Chadbourne Gulch, about 10-miles north of Fort Bragg.  A forensic autopsy performed revealed that Stanley died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds.  Family members last saw Stanley alive on March 27, 1987, leaving a family member's house in Willits.  Stanley was driving a 1973 yellow Ford Courier pick-up truck with a white camper shell.

Anyone with information in regards to the murder of Clyde Donald Stanley is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.

  • At time of murder: 31 years old
  • Hair: Black
  • Eyes: Brown
  • MCSO Case #: 88-0701
  • Date of last contact: March 6, 1988


On August 14, 1999 at 1230 hours a Deputy from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to Jurgen Knemyer's Willits home (Hill Top Road) in regards to a welfare check.  A neighbor had reported seeing the back door to Jurgen Knemeyer's home open with the interior lights being on since 0300 hours in the morning.

Upon entering into the residence, the Deputy located Jurgen Knemeyer deceased from injuries obviously associated with a homicide.  

During investigations Detectives learned a family member had last spoken with Jurgen Knemeyer on 08-12-1999 at 2130 hours.  At this time it is unclear the motive for the homicide but growing marijuana was located at Jurgen Knemeyer's home during the processing of the crime scene.

Anyone with information in regards to the murder of Jurgen Knemeyer is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100

  • Age at time of murder:  56 years old
  • Height:  5 feet 9 inches tall
  • Weight:  185 lbs.
  • Hair:  Gray
  • Eyes:  Hazel
  • MCSO Case#:  99-2653
  • Date of last contact:  August 12, 1999
  Jurgen "Yo" Knemeyer Jurgen Knemeyer

Charles Roy Mitchell Charles Roy Mitchell
 
  • Age at time of murder:  66 years-old
  • Height:  5 feet 10 inches tall
  • Weight:  180 lbs.
  • Hair:  Black
  • Eyes:  Brown
  • MCSO Case#:  04-3899
  • Date of last contact:  October 31, 2004

On November 01, 2004 at 1315 hours Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to Noland Jay Mitchell and Charles Roy Mitchell's Ukiah residence (Orr Springs Road) in regards to a homicide. 

An employee at Noland Jay Mitchell's work had responded to the residence after Noland failed to show up for work.  Upon arriving at the residence the employee found Noland Jay Mitchell deceased from injuries obviously associated to a homicide.  Upon a further search of the residence Deputies found Charles Roy Mitchell (Noland's father) deceased from injuries obviously associated to a homicide.  Both victims were last known to be alive on October 31, 2004 and at this time it is unclear the motive for the homicides.

Anyone with information in regards to the murders of Noland Jay Mitchell and Charles Roy Mitchell is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.

  • Age at time of murder:  34 years old
  • Height:  6 feet 3 inches tall
  • Weight:  380 lbs.
  • Hair:  Black
  • Eyes: Brown
  • MCSO Case#:  04-3899
  • Date of last contact:  October 31, 2004
  Noland Jay MitchellNoland Jay Mitchell

CASE SOLVED

Georgina Fatima Pacheco Georgina Fatima Pacheco

 

On September 10, 1988, at 0800 hours, a resident of Pearl Ranch Road, Rodney Elam, was walking a dog down the road when it alerted to an area of thick brush just off of the roadway. Elam followed the dog into the brush and located the remains of a nude female. Elam contacted the Sheriff's Office and reported his discovery.

A Sheriff's Deputy responded to the area and secured the scene. Sheriff's Detectives arrived at the location and began to process the scene for evidence. They discovered that the deceased female had an orange and black nylon weave rope wrapped tightly around her neck. They also observed that the deceased female had blunt force injuries to her head. Detectives were able to determine that the female had been killed at an unknown location and then transported to Pearl Ranch Road where her body was hidden in thick brush.

Later in the day, Detectives were able to positively identify the victim as Georgina Pacheco (20 years of age). Pacheco was a Fort Bragg resident and had been reported as a missing person on September 4, 1988, to the Fort Bragg Police Department. During the investigation it was discovered that Pacheco was last seen on September 1, 1988 when she was picked up at her place of employment, the Sea Pal Restaurant in Fort Bragg, by Robert James Parks. Parks was a Fort Bragg resident who owned property within 2 miles of where Pacheco's body had been discovered. Parks was a self employed commercial fisherman.

An autopsy of Pacheco determined her cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head as well as strangulation. A sexual assault examination was conducted on Pacheco at the time of the autopsy, which included taking swabs to collect DNA. Clippings from her fingernails were also taken in hopes of locating physical evidence. Detectives felt the blunt force injuries were consistent with having come from a tire iron or an abalone pry bar.

The evidence recovered during the autopsy was used to determine a specific blood type. At that time the technology to identify people based from of DNA did not exist.

On July 21, 1998, Parks telephoned a family member and advised that he was going to commit suicide by by sinking his fishing vessel in the Long Beach Harbor. Authorities from Long Beach Harbor were notified and located the sunken fishing vessel. Parks' lifeless body was recovered from the ship.

In early 2000 the ability to identify criminal suspects through DNA was a relatively new investigative tool for law enforcement. Sheriff's Detective Kevin Bailey submitted some of the evidence recovered during the Pacheco autopsy to the Department of Justice (DOJ) DNA laboratory. Because of a back log on DNA evidence the Department of Justice was not able to provide any results until 2005. At that time the DNA laboratory was only able to determine that the DNA recovered from Pacheco at autopsy was male sperm. They had enough of a DNA profile where it could be used to exclude suspects, but not enough to run through CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) in an attempt to identify a suspect. Detective Bailey left the Sheriff's Office in 2005 and took a position with the District Attorney's Office.

The Pacheco case was then reassigned to another detective with the Sheriff's Office. In 2009 Detective Andrew Porter took over the case. Detective Porter arranged for the original swabs and the fingernail clippings to be sent to the DNA laboratory. Most of the swab samples had been consumed during blood typing examinations in the early 90's. Regardless, the DNA laboratory was able to obtain a complete DNA profile from the wooden sticks that the cotton swabs had been attached to. Additionally, DOJ Senior Criminalist, Meghan Mannion-Grey was able to extract a partial profile from the swabs taken of Pacheco's hands, as well as from the fingernail clippings. This partial profile matched the complete DNA profile that had been extracted from the swab stick.

Detective Porter then obtained DNA samples from Parks' family members. He submitted these samples and Mannion-Grey was able to compare them to the DNA profile extracted from the evidence. Mannion-Grey was able to positively identify Robert James Parks as the contributor of the semen located on the swab stick and the contributor of the blood found on Pacheco's hands and under her fingernails.

Based on these findings the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office has listed Robert James Parks as the suspect in the murder of Georgina Pacheco and has closed this cold case.


 

On September 10, 1988 at approximately 0723 hours the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a call from a citizen informant reporting the discovery of human remains in an area off of Canyon Drive in the Fort Bragg area.

A responding Sheriff's Deputy was directed to the area specified by the citizen informant where he located the remains of a female individual who was determined to be deceased as the result of an obvious homicide.

Sheriff's Detectives from Fort Bragg and Ukiah responded to the scene and conducted an in-depth investigation of the immediate scene and surrounding area of where the remains where discovered.

The female individual was identified as being Georgina Fatima Pacheco, age 20, and a resident of Fort Bragg.  Georgina Fatima Pacheco had been reported missing to the Fort Bragg Police Department by her family.  Georgina Fatima Pacheco had reportedly been missing since September 01, 1988.

Anyone with information in regards to the disappearance or murder of Georgina Fatima Pacheco is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.

  • Age at time of murder:  20 years old
  • Height:  5 feet 4 inches tall
  • Weight:  140 lbs.
  • Hair:  Black
  • Eyes:  Brown
  • MCSO Case#:  88-3177
  • Date of last contact:  September 01, 1988

On December 09, 2009 at approximately 0300 hours several intruders forced entry into Michael Anthony Hunter's Ukiah area residence (Mill Creek Road).  At the time of the incident the residence was occupied by Michael Anthony Hunter, his young child, his wife and a roommate.

The intruders were armed with firearms and were confronted by Michael Anthony Hunter who was unarmed.  During the confrontation Michael Anthony Hunter was shot and killed before the intruders fled the residence.  Detectives believe the motive for the incident was robbery, as a large amount of processed marijuana was located inside of the residence.

Anyone with information in regards to the murder of Michael Anthony Hunter is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.

  Michael Anthony HunterMichael Anthony Hunter

Raul Delara Ruiz Raul Delara Ruiz
 

On September 11, 2009 at approximately 0125 hours Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a rural piece of property located on Highway 175 in Hopland due to a physical assault.

Upon arrival Deputies contacted Raul Delara Ruiz who had been physically assaulted on the property by three suspects earlier in the day.  While being treated by medical personnel Raul Delara Ruiz died as the result of the injuries sustained during the physical assault.

Detectives responded to the scene and learned Raul Delara Ruiz had been growing marijuana on the property with the three suspects.  Detectives learned there was a verbal disagreement between Raul Delara Ruiz and the suspects, which resulted in Raul Delara Ruiz and his wife being physically assaulted by the suspects.  After the physical assaults the 3 suspects stole a portion of the growing marijuana and fled the property.

The suspects were described as being Hispanic adult males, with two being in their twenties and the other being in his thirties.

Anyone with information in regards to the murder of Raul Delara Ruiz is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.

  • Age at time of murder:  52 years old
  • Height:  5 feet 9 inches tall
  • Weight:  200 lbs.
  • Hair:  Black
  • Eyes:  Brown
  • MCSO Case#:  09-2761
  • Date of murder:  September 11, 2009

   

On January 7, 1973  at approximately 11:30 PM, 18-year-old Barbara Stroud had dropped her boyfriend off at his residence within the city limits of Willits.  After leaving her boyfriend's residence, she traveled north on Highway 101 towards her residence.  Once she was approximately two miles north of the Willits city limits, evidence located showed her vehicle was forced off the roadway.  

Approximate 30 minutes after leaving her boyfriend's residence, a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy was in route to a call for service in Laytonville and observed Barbara Stroud's vehicle parked along side Highway 101 and unoccupied.

After handling the call in Laytonville, the Deputy returned to Barbara Stroud's vehicle and noticed her personal belongings inside the vehicle.  The Deputy checked the vehicle's registration and learned the vehicle was not wanted or stolen.  The Deputy then left the area.

At approximately 2:00 AM Barbara Stoud's parents phoned the Sheriff's Office and reported her as a missing person.  The Sheriffs Office took the report and returned to her parked vehicle.  A search was conducted for Barbara Stroud but she was not located.

On January 10, 1973 the nude body of Barbara Stroud was located in a remote area within two miles of where her vehicle was located.  Barbara Stroud's clothing was later found approximately one mile away from where her body was discovered.  During a forensic autopsy it was learned Barbara Stroud had been sexually assaulted and strangled to death.

If you have any information regarding the abduction, rape and murder of Barbara Stroud, please contact Detective Andrew Whiteaker of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.  Detective Whiteaker's direct line is (707) 463-4103 and the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line is (707) 234-2100.

  • Age at time of murder:  18 years old
  • Height:  5 feet tall
  • Weight:  100 lbs.
  • Hair:  Blonde
  • Eyes:  Blue
  • MCSO Case#:  73-38347 (08-2354 automated file)
  • Date of last contact:  January 7, 1973
  Barbara Jean Stroud Barbara Jean Stroud

   
Leslie Charles CraneLeslie Charles Crane
 

On November 18, 2005 at approximately 0200 hours four masked intruders forced entry into Leslie Crane's Laytonville residence.  The intruders were armed with firearms and a baseball bat.  Upon entering into the residence the intruders physically assaulted two of Leslie Crane's acquaintances with the baseball bat, while Leslie Crane was shot and killed.  The motivation for the incident was determined to be robbery as the intruders stole processed marijuana and US currency from a safe inside the residence.

Anyone with information in regards to the murder of Leslie Crane is asked to contact theSheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.

  • Age at time of murder:  39 years old
  • Height:  6 feet 1 inches tall
  • Weight:  210 lbs
  • Hair:  Brown
  • Eyes:  Brown
  • MCSO Case#:  05-3952
  • Date of last contact:  November 18, 2005

 


On November 13, 1999 Tony Joseph Griffanti was last seen leaving his girlfriend's Ukiah area residence in his pickup truck to travel to Gualala (Mendocino County) for work but he never arrived.

On January 6, 1999 Tony Joseph Griffanti's pickup truck was located by a mushroom picker in a wooded area of the Ridgewood sub-division in Willits.  Search and Rescue operations were conducted in the area of the pickup truck and Tony Joseph Griffanti was not located.

On September 21, 2003 Detectives were called to the Ridgewood sub-division in regards to a human skull that had been found by a land owner.  Detectives noticed the human skull had been found in the vicinity of where Tony Joseph Griffanti's pickup truck had been found in 1999.

Dental comparisons showed the human skull was that of Tony Joseph Griffanti and Detectives continue to classify his disappearance as suspicious.


Anyone with information in regards to the disappearance or death of Tony Joseph Griffanti are asked to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100

  • Age at time of disappearance: 38 years old
  • Height: 5 feet 7 inches tall
  • Weight: 180 lbs
  • Hair: Brown
  • Eyes: Brown
  • MCSO Case#:99-3924
  • Date of last contact: November 13, 1999
  Tony Joseph Griffanti Tony Griffanti

Joseph Clarence Wilma Jr.Joseph Wilma
 

On September 2, 2005, the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office received a missing persons report in regards to the disappearance of Joseph Clarence Wilma Jr.  It was reported Wilma was with Michael William Desmet when the pair left Humboldt County in Wilma's vehicle.  The pair had a destination of Wilma's Covelo, California property and they were never heard from again.

On April 5, 2007, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was contacted by a person who had found a human jaw bone on a secluded piece of wilderness land near Wilma's property.  A search of the area near the jaw bone resulted in the discovery of Wilma's vehicle and a human femur bone.  A forensic examination of the jaw and femur bone showed them as being Wilma.

Detectives have followed up on several leads and thus far Desmet is still missing under suspicious circumstances.  Detectives have classified Wilma's death as homicide and believe Desmet is also the victim of homicide despite the recovery of any human remains.

Anyone with information in regards to the circumstances of Wilma's disappearance or murder are asked to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.

  • Age at time of disappearance:53 years old
  • Height: 6 feet 1 inches tall
  • Weight: 220 lbs
  • Hair: Brown
  • Eyes: Hazel
  • MCSO Case#:07-1069

On September 2, 2005 the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office received a missing persons report in regards to the disappearance of Michael William Desmet.  It was reported Desmet was with Joseph Clarence Wilma Jr when the pair left Humboldt County in Wilma's vehicle.  The pair had a destination of Wilma's Covelo, California property and they were never heard from again.

On April 5, 2007 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was contacted by a person who had found a human jaw bone on a secluded piece of wilderness land near Wilma's property.  A search of the area near the jaw bone resulted in the discovery of Wilma's vehicle and a human femur bone.  A forensic examination of the jaw and femur bone showed them as being Wilma.

Detectives have followed up on several leads and thus far Desmet is still missing under suspicious circumstances.  Detectives have classified Wilma's death as homicide and believe Desmet is also the victim of homicide despite the recovery of any human remains.

Anyone with information in regards to the possible whereabouts or disappearance of Desmet are asked to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100
  • Age at time of disappearance: 35 years old
  • Height: 6 feet 1 inches tall
  • Weight: 200 lbs
  • Hair: Blonde
  • Eyes: Green
  • MCSO Case#: 07-1069
 
Michael William Desmet
Michael William Desmet