Humboldt Co. Sheriff’s Office Unready to Confirm Connection in Recent SoHum Cases to Garret Rodriquez

Kym Kemp / Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 @ 8:31 a.m. / Crime

Garret Rodriguez

Although Southern Humboldt and the comment section of the LoCO are swirling with rumors concerning the connection between the body found Sunday near Jewett Road and story of the eight men involved in an alleged kidnapping and shooting of a land owner near Rancho Sequoia, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) is unwilling to confirm the two are part of the same case and that both are connected to a disappearance earlier this year of an Ocean Beach man, Garret Rodriguez.

“It would be unprofessional and inappropriate at this time to comment,” Lt. Steve Knight stated earlier this week.  “It is uncertain if there is any connection.”  Knight stated that law enforcement is waiting for information from the Coroner before any solid information can be determined. At this point, he said, the gender, age, and other details of the human remains have not been confirmed.

Multiple sources that wish to remain anonymous, however, have confirmed there is a connection. Collecting information from various sources, LoCO has pieced together the following story. (For clarity, refer to the timeline at the bottom of the page.)

On Thanksgiving night, a group of men went to the home of a person believed to have knowledge of the whereabouts of  Garret Rodriguez’s body. There they shot the man. He was injured and they took him away in a vehicle after tying up two visitors. What happened next is unclear, but it is known that information was extracted from the property owner as to where the grave site near Jewett Road was.

By 3:30 a.m. on Friday, the property owner somehow arrived at the Garberville Hospital where he was interviewed by the Humboldt Co. Sheriff’s Office. According to the Times Standard, the property owner “a 25-year-old Rancho Sequoia man — was shot in his shoulder and calf and had a possible graze wound to the temple, but was recovering at an out-of-the-area hospital.”

On Friday, the HCSO went to the home of the property owner with a search warrant where they obtained evidence of the incident between the group of men and the owner of the property.

At some point, the information on the grave site was conveyed to a third party who called the sheriff’s department on Saturday around 5 p.m. At 7 a.m. on Sunday, law enforcement went to the site where they located a grave.

The body was found in the grave site near Jewett Ranch Road which is relatively close (roughly 10 miles by road) to Rancho Sequoia, the last place Garret Rodriguez was known to be living. 

According to the Humboldt County Coroner Dave Parris, an autopsy for the body found near Jewett Ranch Road is set for this Sunday. Parris was unwilling to discuss much relating to the actual remains including the possibility that the remains might be Garret Rodriguez but explained, in general terms when they are out on a burial site, if the facts point to a homicide, “the body is treated as evidence.” Unlike a normal death, Parris explained, “After a preliminary look, the body is sealed and won’t be viewed again until the autopsy.”  This keeps the chain of evidence intact.

The body from the Jewett Road area, Parris said, will have x-rays done before the autopsy to determine if there are any “foreign substances” but they will be done from outside the seal. The information from the x-rays will be used to help Dr. Mark Super, an out-of-the-area-expert in the field of evidence collection, determine what to look for during the autopsy. 

Family and friends of Garret Rodriguez are talking about the situation. An open Facebook group has multiple posts from the Lost Coast Outpost and the Times-Standard about the body being found and a group of men going to the Rancho Sequoia home and taking the property owner away. Family members are hoping their long search for their loved one is coming to a close.

Many in the community of Rancho Sequoia believe they know the name of the person who killed Garret Rodriguez. As commenter Bigg Budd says on the LoCO, “The Vigilante got information that led the Sheriff to the grave. They know who did the murder.”

Will the evidence collected be strong enough to put the perpetrator in jail?

Law enforcement asks that if anyone has any information on this case/these cases to contact Detective Sergeant Diana Freese at 707-268-3639 or the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251. She is heading up all three cases.

Although Private Investigator Chris Cook, who has been investigating the disappearance of Garret Rodriguez, is unwilling to comment on the connection between the cases, she offers that if anyone has information about what happened on Thanksgiving night and the next day, they can “contact us if they don’t feel comfortable talking to law enforcement.” Her office can be reached at 707-839-7422.

PREVIOUSLY: 

Timeline:

Friday, Nov. 29:

  • 3:00 a.m.: Humboldt CO. Sheriff’s Office (HSO) receives call from two men alleging that a home owner in Rancho Sequoia has been shot and taken away in a car.
  • 3:30 a.m.: HSO receives call from Garberville Hospital saying they have a gunshot victim.
  • Unknown time: HSO speak to gunshot victim.
  • Later on the same day: HSO serve a warrant on gunshot victim’s home. Find evidence consistent with story told by two men.

Saturday, Nov. 30:

  • 5:00 p.m.: HSO receives phone call telling them of a grave site near Jewett Ranch Rd. (Rumor this was from the PI’s)

Sunday, Dec. 1:

  • Around 7:00 a.m.: HSO goes to grave site. There they and the Humboldt Coroner’s office collect evidence.
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