The Girl with the Triangle Tattoo
by Mark Scaramella, November 1, 2017
Asha Kreimer went missing from the Rollerville Café outside of Point Arena under mysterious and confusing circumstances on Monday, September 21, 2015. She has not been seen or heard from since. Asha, born and raised in Australia and was 26 at the time of her disappearance, would be about 28 years old now.
The missing woman has dark, long curly hair. She is tall at about 5'10", 120-130 pounds. Asha is fairly thin with olive colored skin. She also has a strong Australian accent and a prominent red triangle tatto on her right wrist.
The chronology of the days leading up to Asha’s disappearance are still not entirely clear and some important details of the case are under still under dispute. Police have not released anything on the case, citing privacy laws and an ongoing investigation.
What is known is that her boyfriend, a dreadlocked young white man from Albion named Jamai Gayle, and a visiting friend of Asha’s from Australia named Sally (last name unknown), took Asha to the “Access Center” in Fort Bragg Sunday evening, September 20 where she was reported to be suffering from a mental health crisis stemming from what her mother said was a bipolar disorder — but as far as is known she had not suffered any such “crisis” before.
The Access Center at the time was run by Ortner Management Group, the private, for-profit mental health contractor given responsibility for Mendocino County's publicly-funded mental health services. that has since been terminated after a chorus of complaints from cops and local doctors.
Asha had been living in Albion with Jamai Gayle for three years. She was having trouble sleeping in the days leading up to her disappearance, and had been awake for four consecutive nights and shouting “incoherently” which precipitated the trip to the Hospital.
Asha’s behavior at the Hospital was described as so odd and potentially dangerous that the Hospital staff called the Fort Bragg police. Asha resisted being restrained and was then declared 5150 (danger to self or others) by a Fort Bragg police officer.
Asha’s mother, a practicing nurse in Australia, has since spoken to the Fort Bragg police sergeant who was on the scene at the Hospital and the mental health worker who arrived at the Hospital soon after Asha was brought in. The worker told Asha’s mother he couldn’t discuss details because of Health Privacy laws. But he broke down in tears while talking to Asha’s mother about the incident at the Emergency Room. “I think he felt responsible for a bad decision. I’ve heard about incompetence there.”
The Fort Bragg cop told Asha’s mother that the scene at the Hospital was “a mess.”
Somewhere toward the end of the “mess,” Asha was released by the Ortner contractor rep, the same man who had broken down in tears, and released back to boyfriend Jamai and her young Australian friend, “Sally.”
“They did no blood workup, they made no written observations, they took no vital signs, because they said Asha refused to allow it,” her mother reported.
After another sleepless night back in Albion, the somewhat vague idea was to return to the Hospital and try for help again; that was on Monday, September 21. But Asha was in no better shape Monday morning and the Hospital experience certainly did not help her.
Preparing to go to Hospital the next morning with no clear plan, and Asha still unwell, the three young people decided to take a drive, perhaps to San Francisco where Mr. Gayle’s mother lived. On the way they stopped for breakfast at the Rollerville Café in Point Arena.
At some point during the breakfast with Jamai Gayle and Asha's friend Sally, at around 9:30am, the friend got up to go to the restroom and Asha decided to go with her. But Sally discovered that Asha had not entered the restroom and had apparently walked off. A Rollerville Café employee reportedly said Asha “seemed agitated.”
Asha was last seen barefoot in black skinny jeans and a gray hoodie behind the Café along the precipitous ocean bluffs.
Jamai Gayle said later that he and Sally searched for her until around 2pm and then returned to the Rollerville Café for the next three days asking about Asha, again with no success.
Asha had walked off without her cellphone, purse, keys and credit cards. An unconfirmed report had it that she’d been seen in the area talking on her cellphone. Her jacket was soon discovered on the trail along the cliffs to the Point Arena Lighthouse.
At first there was speculation that she may have fallen or jumped off the bluffs, but the area has been thoroughly searched and no body resembling Asha has ever been recovered. It now seems unlikely that Asha drowned.
According to one report, Asha returned to her home in Albion where she had been living with Jamai Gayle to retrieve her beloved German Shepard. It’s not clear if Jamai Gayle was there at that time, or how she may have traveled back to Albion.
Asha’s mother Jeannie Kreimer who first traveled to Mendo from Australia to spearhead the search within days of hearing that her daughter was missing, said later that she doubted the report that Asha returned for her dog — but the dog is also missing and its disappearance unexplained in any coherent manner. “It got to the point where I heard I would say at least six stories from Jamai about what happened to that dog,” said Jeannie Kreimer.
So far, Jamai Gayle has been uncooperative with Asha’s mother or the investigating officers, but has offered stories that don't make sense.
According to Jeannine Kreimer, Jamai Gayle said at one point that he didn’t take her breakdown seriously at first, dismissing it as “just acting out.”
Jeannie Kreimer says she thinks Jamai Gayle himself suffers from depression, made worse in the past by girlfriends who dropped him, and who at first glance seems like a multi-substance user/abuser.
So a fragile, vulnerable, attractive, sleep-deprived and “acting out” young woman, who had had some kind of mental breakdown was seen by a mental health worker at Coast Hospital where she gets essentially no help, compounded by her refusal to comply to efforts to restrain her, in the company of a boyfriend who is at wit’s end himself.
Asha’s mother and the police assume that Asha had had enough of her relationship with Jamai Gayle and wanted to get away from him by running away or, worse, suicide. With little sleep, distraught, in an area she was probably unfamiliar with, an unable to get help from people she might trust, and perhaps having suffered some kind of bad drug reaction on top of a likely dispute during the Rollverville Café breakfast with her boyfriend, Asha decided she didn’t want to go back to the Fort Bragg Hospital and simply walked away from it all.
Asha’s mother has now made eight trips to the U.S. from Australia searching for her daughter, looking for clues and following leads to her daughter’s disappearance. She now speculates that Asha may be suffering from amnesia, may have taken a new name, and is hiding out somewhere in marijuana country incognito, incommunicado. The amnesia theory is probably based on Asha’s failure to contact her family whom she has always been close to.
Asha’s mother says she hasn’t got much information from detectives who also cite health privacy laws and the ongoing investigation. So far, there is no evidence of foul play.
* * *
And that’s pretty much where information about the case stood — until March of this year when an enterprising young podcast host named Jordan Sims, who specializes in missing person cases, got involved. Sims’ Idaho-based podcast true-crime show has investigated several dozen missing person cases since his podcast's inception in early 2016.
In March of 2017 Ms. Sims aired two podcast episodes on the subject of Asha Kreimer’s disappearnce. Part 1 was an in-depth interview with Asha’s mother. Part 2 was an even longer interview with probably the key player in Asha’s disappearance, the elusive Jamai Gayle.
In Part 1, Jeannie Kreimer describes her daughter’s background in Australia and the search she has been conducting since her disappearance. According to Jeannie, Asha’s breakdown began when Asha’s childhood friend Sally arrived in Albion for a visit. They engaged in some “heavy conversation” about their respective fathers, both of whom had died young after mental breakdowns. Asha’s father in particular, a member of US Special Forces who lived part-time in Australia after marrying Jeannie, also suffered a breakdown preceding his premature death. During the discussion with Sally about Asha’s father, Asha suddenly went catatonic and stared straight ahead, and that, her mother believes, precipitated her sleeplessness and mental descent. Asha’s mother said Asha's father had a similar break when he was about the same age as Asha.
Jeannie Kreimer has determined that her daughter was “assessed” at the Coast Hospital emergency room on the evening of September 20. In the middle of the “assessment” Asha became hostile and the police were called. Sergeant Lee and two other Fort Bragg Police officers showed up. “It took quite a while for all of this,” Jeannie Kreimer said. “They held her down and tried to put her in restraints and she tried to get away. I think they were quite rough with her,” adding that Asha, unaccustomed to rough treatment, would have been terribly frightened.
After whatever assessment was done, Asha was released back into care of Jamai and Sally with a vague expectation that they’d be back in the Fort Bragg emergency room if she didn’t get better. But, “Nobody’s been truthful with me about what happened at that Albion property,” Mrs. Kreimer said. Either way, Jeannie Kreimer doesn’t understand why Asha was released to the boyfriend. “That was a major mistake,” Jeannie said.
In her limited contact with sheriff’s investigators, Jeannie Kreimer said there were also “jurisdictional questions because Asha is an Australian citizen. “I had to report her missing to the Canberra constable. Interpol was contacted. Plus the Sheriff’s department here. But they wouldn’t give me much information. The Health Privacy laws block you every time you turn around.” At first, the police told Jeannie that Asha had probably died. “Why did they say that? Based on what? This is not helpful. I think they wanted me to go away.”
Asha did not drive, her mother said. On the Sunday night at Coast Hospital before she went missing she had been trying to get into random cars stopped on the street.
Perhaps she hitchhiked out of the area, but that’s not confirmed. “Her jacket was found up near the cliffs [near Point Arena], but we don’t know how it got there. Sally said she didn’t have a jacket in the Café.”
Jeannie Kreimer also said that Asha’s cellphone was found at her Albion home and given to Jeannie by Jamai. “But that’s not clear either. How did Jamai get it? A dishwasher at the Café said he saw Asha on the phone in Point Arena.”
It’s not clear where the cellphone is now, who has it, or if it’s been examined by police.
Jeannie Kreimer also said there were two dogs involved. Asha’s dog was German Shephard. Jamai owns a mastiff. When Jamai subsequently piled into a redwood on Highway 128, the dog with him, presumably the mastiff, was killed. Jamai was hospitalized. Asha’s German Shepard was gone when Jeannie arrived in Albion to try to talk to Jamai. “I don’t know what happened to the dog. I don’t know if she went back to get it or if it ran away or it got into a car with someone. It’s hard to imagine she got back to Albion to pick up the dog. How the dog turned up missing is another mystery.”
For a while Jeannie Kreimer thought Asha might be hiding with Humboldt pot growers. But she no longer thinks that. “Now, I just don’t know. Is she being held against her will? Is it voluntary? She might still be mentally ill. Or she might be better. The whole thing is out of character for her.”
Jeannie Kreimer says she’s gone all over the area in her several trips to the US looking for Asha and clues to her disappearance — police stations, homeless shelters, local agencies, people in the streets. She’s made up cards with photos of Asha and information and handed them out wherever she’s been — as far away as Grass Valley, Fortuna… “I’m not giving up,” she says. “I’m driven. The detectives think I’m just a neurotic mother. But her name, Asha, means ‘hope’.” (In Sanskrit).
* * *
Jordan Sims’ podcast interview Part 2 with Jamai Gayle shed new light on the case, much of it new to locals because “Thin Air” isn't easy to find, and once you do find it you're in for almost two hours of interviews.
Jamai told podcaster Sims that it seemed like Sally’s arrival “coincided with her not feeling safe. … They were looking at old photos, at a picture of a house where she said she’d been molested.” Asha allegedly told Sally, ‘I made myself forget.’ Asha couldn’t get over her father’s death; she screamed about it, often. Jamai said he had not told Asha’s mother about the molestation memories and so far, although detectives have contacted Sally, there’s no confirmation of that allegation.
According to Jamai, after Asha became upset, Jamai asked Asha if she wanted to talk to someone. No answer. Jamai called the County’s Mental Health crisis hot line on Sunday afternoon when things were getting worse, but a recording said their offices were all closed until Monday and that if it gets worse they should go to the Coast Hospital emergency room.
Asha was becoming more difficult. She stopped eating and sleeping. At lunch Sunday she wouldn’t eat. She wanted to call her mom on Skype but when they got back to the house, “Asha dialed 911 and handed me the phone and said she wanted to go to Emergency Room.”
“We got to the hospital and went into a random office. They put her in a wheelchair and started to take her to the ER. But she stamped her feet on the ground and refused to go into ER. I told them she was having a mental health emergency. She stood up and froze and stepped back and fell and was caught in a chair. Then she bolted out of the ER.”
Jamai followed her a couple of blocks out to Fort Bragg’s Main street, which is also Highway One. Asha went into the street and tried to get into a passing car, but the driver refused to let her in. “Then she tried to get into a truck with a creepy guy, but then the guy saw me and drove off.”
The police arrived and picked her up, and brought her back to the ER, fighting, they strapped her to a bed as she screamed. (In fairness to the police, what else could they have done in this situation?) “It was horrible!” said Jamai. “I was in the hallway crying. I was hysterical, and I guess they thought I was in the way. They thought she was on drugs. So we were waiting for the Mental Health person to show up. Asha started screaming my neighbor’s name, ‘EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE killed Joy!’ Repeating that. ‘Joy’s dead! I killed Joy!’ Repeating and repeating.”
The Mental Health rep arrived and essentially told Jamai, in his version of events, “We don’t care about that.”
“I guess they thought she’d calm down when the drugs wore off. They wanted her to sign some release papers, but she just scribbled on them and refused to sign.”
Jamai said the Mental Health representative told Asha about two prior patients of his who were in very bad shape, who had slit their wrists, and he showed Asha his wrists and demonstrated and told her a very traumatic story, and then another horrible story, concluding, “These are the people you’ll be with, and then she signed the papers.”
There was some discussion of an appointment on Monday, as if Asha might be better after another night on her own. As they were leaving the hospital, Asha screamed some more about “EDDIE! I killed Joy! EDDIE EDDIE.” …
“Nothing was given to her. It was horrible treatment at the Hospital! Horrible! They did not do any drug tests or any other health tests.”
Jamai offered to take Asha to San Francisco. But first they’d have to get the dog and Sally. So they had no choice but to return to their Albion home.
“When we turned on to Albion Lane, she tried to jump out,” Jamai continued. “She didn’t want to go home. She was afraid. I offered her some Tylenol PM. She grabbed at the bottle like she might take the whole bottle. Then she grabbed a knife suggestively. I said, ‘Come on,’ and she let go of the knife.”
Asha spent another sleepless night. “She was not over her father’s death,” Jamai said, steadily exempting himself from all responsibility for his girl friend's deteriorating mental condition.
Sometime later Sunday night Asha was gone. They looked around the property for her and saw her jacket at the gate to the property. Sally and Jamai went down the road. No Asha. Then they saw her walking. They picked her up. Neighbor Eddie thought Asha was in serious trouble and told Jamai and Sally not to let Asha out of their sight.
“But we had no options. She ran off and hid again. She hid behind a tree, and then started to walk off again. I asked her why she was walking off? She replied, ‘I want to kill myself.’ Sally suggested a drive down the Coast. We agreed. Maybe she’d sleep in the car. Maybe that was a wrong decision not going back to the hospital. But it [the hospital visit] didn’t go well the first time.”
Monday morning they decided to try to drive to San Francisco to see Jamai’s mother. When they stopped at the Rollerville Café near Point Arena, Asha was still “acting weird.” She got out of the car and ran toward the ocean cliffs. Jamai said he grabbed her. She would not eat any breakfast. At one point Jamai thought she was following Sally into the detached bathroom. But when he went back to find Asha when she didn't emerge from the bathroom, he discovered Asha was gone. He and Sally searched but she was gone.
“We looked everywhere. Maybe she went across Highway One to a cow pasture and then to a trail down to the beach. We thought maybe she hopped into a passsing car and took off. Sally was tired, she’s not athletic. Sally wanted to sleep. She didn’t realize there was a crisis.” (Huh? After all this drama, Sally didn't realize there was a crisis?) Jamai admits Asha could have jumped or fallen off the cliffs. But nobody would say it out loud. There were clues though: the jacket found in the direction of the ocean, her suicidal tendencies, the young woman severely depressed. “I hoped she was alive,” Jamai said.
Jamai called the police Monday afternoon after his own search of several hours for Asha. “I don’t know what they did. I saw a cop looking over the cliff like she’d jumped. They interviewed Sally. They interviewed me.”
Jamai says there’s no truth to the story that Asha returned for her dog. “Both dogs got out. I think the German Shepard went looking for her.” If she’d come back for her dog someone would have seen her, Jamai insists. There are cameras on the road in Albion. “The dogs would have barked. Even at Asha. They bark. They didn’t bark. That did not happen. It’s all just horrible.”
“I’ve never had a great relationship with Asha’s mother for some reason,” Jamai said. “I have my opinions. I don’t talk to her now. Asha’s sister called. I have Asha’s things. But they never really liked me. When I talked about the childhood trauma they did not believe me. I don’t know what they think to this day. Police didn’t take the case serioiusly. News media didn’t get it. They focused on me, not on Asha’s mental health breakdown. The stories and the social media comments lead people to believe she was fleeing a bad relationship. But no, that’s not it, it was a severe mental breakdown. There’s a difference. She was having a break down, not just fleeing me. They said I was harmful towards her. But that’s ridiculous. They made comments about my race, my education, family history…”
Jamai says the cops have not contacted him since. “The detective seems to care about the case,” he said. “But there’s not much they can do. They think she was a walk-away. But we are victims of no mental health care on the coast, so this incident was not taken seriously and this is the result. We needed a break. We had been dealing with an unstable person for a long time. I was tired. She needed rest and medication. But they scared her away from treatment. It would have been completely different if they’d handled this right.”
“She’s a private person,” said Jamai, “very dedicated, loves her family, loves her mother and sister. Very artistic. Wise for her years. A lovely person. Very thoughtful…”
At the time of the podcast Jamai still thought Asha was alive. “I think she’s on a pot farm in Mendocino County somewhere. September is the time for pot harvesting. People need trimmers. She could have been involved. I hope so. But I don’t know.”
Jordan Sims concluded her podcast interview with Jamai, "If you see her be aware that she might be difficult to approach, skittish. But please, help find Asha Kreimer."
* * *
Anyone with information related to the disappearance of Asha Kreimer is asked to call Detective Luis Espinoza at 707-463-4107 or the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Tip-line at 707-234-2100.
For more information and updates go to the “Help Find Asha Kreimer” Facebook page or her GoFundMe.com profile: https://www.gofundme.com/656da8y4
Postscript: In November of 2015 we reported that Jamai Gayle was badly injured when, westbound, he piled into a large redwood tree off Highway 128 near Navarro on Saturday, November 14, 2015 about 5pm. Gayle's dog was killed on impact. A resident of Albion, Gayle was airlifted to Santa Rosa where he was arrested in the hospital for driving under the influence. The mysterious disappearance of Gayle's girlfriend — last seen at the Rollerville Cafe near Point Arena — is under investigation by the Sheriff's Department.