Humboldt County prosecutors say Root Harvest Birimisa was released from the Humboldt County Jail on a $75,000 bail bond through an error of the courts one day before his arrest in Mendocino County.
November 13, 2023 — Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Carly Dolan has ordered the man alleged to have crashed a minivan with his mother’s dead body concealed inside last month to undergo psychological evaluation to see if he’s mentally competent to stand trial for driving under the influence and leaving the scene of a crash. Mendocino County Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Van Patten said foul play is not suspected in the death of the decedent, 53-year-old Christine Randolph from Eureka.
Root Harvest Birimisa, 26, allegedly failed a field sobriety test near the scene of a hit-and-run collision in the vicinity of Sherwood Road and Birch Terrace in Brooktrails on Sunday, Oct. 8. Investigative reports on file in Humboldt County Superior Court describe Birimisa as red-eyed and barefoot, exhibiting strange behavior.
“CHP Officers later contacted [the] defendant, who admitted to taking edibles prior to crashing his car. Defendant appeared to be under the influence and shouted at the sky while appearing to speak with someone who was not present,” wrote Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Whitney Timm in a motion to increase Birimisa’s bail.
The day before the crash, Birimisa had been in custody at the Humboldt County Jail where he’s facing felony charges of lewd and lascivious acts with a child. A probable cause statement for Birimisa’s arrest alleges that he climbed into an 8-year-old girl’s bed and pulled down her pants during a residential burglary in September.
Birimisa bailed out of jail on a $75,000 bond Oct. 7, then left Humboldt County and was re-arrested Oct. 8 on suspicion of DUI and leaving the scene of the Brooktrails crash. In petitioning the court to raise his bail, Humboldt prosecutors argued the court set Birimisa’s initial bail at $75,000 in error — roughly $700,000 below bail schedule for the alleged offenses. Birimisa’s bail was subsequently increased by an additional $675,000 for a total of $750,000.
Five days after the crash on Friday, Oct. 13, investigators searching Birimisa’s vehicle found the body of 53-year-old Christine Randolph from Eureka concealed under a pile of clothing and other belongings. She had been reported missing by the Eureka Police Department Wednesday, Oct. 10. According to Eureka police, she was last in contact with friends and family on the day of the crash — Oct. 8.
Mendocino County has filed misdemeanor charges associated with the collision in Brooktrails, and Humboldt County has filed felony charges associated with Birimisa’s alleged sexual abuse of a child. Court records show that neither county has filed any charges related to Randolph’s death — which is considered “suspicious” pending the results of a toxicology analysis. Randolph’s autopsy was conducted Oct. 14 and those results typically take four to six weeks to come back.
Birimisa is scheduled to appear in Mendocino County Superior Court at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21, for a doctor’s report from a court-appointed mental-health professional. Meanwhile he remains in custody at the Mendocino County Jail, where booking records indicate he is eligible for release on a $680,000 bond.
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What Happened To Christine Randolph?
(Original Sheriff’s Presser)
On Sunday, October 08, 2023 at approximately 3:00 PM the California Highway Patrol was notified of a reported traffic collision in the area of Sherwood Road and Birch Terrace in Willits. (Brooktrails Subdivision).
After the collision, the driver of one of the vehicles, a Toyota Sienna van fled the traffic collision scene.
The reported traffic collision prompted the response of CHP officers and Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies to assist as needed.
Upon arrival, CHP officers interviewed the one motorist at the traffic collision scene and also located the Toyota Sienna van unoccupied a distance away from the collision scene.
The motorist provided a physical description of the driver of the Toyota Sienna van which was subsequently given to the Sheriff's Deputies who thereafter located the driver walking on Birch Street.
A CHP officer responded to Birch Street and contacted the driver in connection with the traffic collision investigation.
This resulted in the CHP officer placing the driver, Root Harvest Birimisa (26-year-old male from Eureka), under arrest for DUI and hit and run resulting in property damage.
Birimisa was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail.
As a result of the arrest, the CHP officer had the Toyota Sienna van towed and stored by a Willits area towing company.
On Monday, October 9, 2023 the Eureka Police Department initiated a missing persons investigation into the reported disappearance of Christine Ann Randolph (53-year-old female from Eureka).
During the investigation Officers and Detectives in Humboldt County began to follow up on several leads in an effort to locate Randolph.
A multijurisdictional response was launched by the Eureka Police Department with the assistance of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Fortuna Police Department, California Highway Patrol, California State Parks, Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators learned Randolph's family had become concerned for her safety after learning of Birimisa's October 8, 2023 arrest. Birimisa was identified as being Randolph's son and that the pair were known to be traveling together.
On Wednesday, October 11, 2023 Mendocino County Sheriff's Detectives assisted Investigators from the Eureka Police Department who had obtained a search warrant authorizing a search of the Toyota Sienna van in connection with the missing persons investigation.
The interior of the Toyota Sienna van was packed with a significant number of belongings to include clothing, luggage and living supplies.
Investigators began removing the belongings and subsequently located a deceased female adult who was located in a section of concaved flooring which was concealed by the large number of belongings.
The female adult was identified as being Randolph and the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office assumed investigative lead into the circumstances of her death.
At this time there is an active coroner's investigation in an attempt to determine the classification and cause of Randolph's death.
A forensic autopsy was scheduled for Saturday, October 14, 2023 to include blood alcohol and toxicology analysis.
Anyone who might have information which could assist Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Detectives is urged to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line at 707-234-2100 or the WeTip anonymous crime reporting hotline at 800-782-7463.