Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies are searching for a missing man in the area of Highway 96 and Deerhorn Road in Weitchpec.

Virgil Owen Bussell Jr., 52, of Weitchpec, was reported missing on March 25, 2020, at about 8 p.m. after his truck was discovered abandoned on Deerhorn Road earlier that evening. It is believed that Bussell Jr. was possibly cutting firewood prior to his disappearance.

Deputies searched the surrounding area Wednesday night, continuing their investigation on Thursday. Today, March 27, the Sheriff’s Special Services Unit, the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Posse and the Hoopa Volunteer Fire Department are conducting an extensive ground search of the area. Teams are searching through thick vegetation and rugged terrain in an effort to locate Bussell Jr. or any evidence of his location.

Bussell Jr. is described as a Native American male, 5 feet 8 inches tall, approximately 180 pounds, with black hair, a beard and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and work boots.

Anyone who has seen Bussell Jr. in the last few weeks or has information regarding his whereabouts should contact the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.