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Mendocino County, The Dark Side

The following roster of missing persons has been compiled by Linda Williams of the Willits News. We have provided information on those cases we have specific knowledge of.

November 1999: Tony Joseph Griffani, 38, left a Ukiah residence to go to Gualala and was never seen again. His car was found in January 2000 near Willits. In 2003, a human skull was located near where the pickup was found. His disappearance is considered suspicious.

December 2003: Michael Ray Larsen, 49, of Fort Bragg, was reported missing. In July 2009, a skeleton was found on South Harbor Drive by people clearing brush on the hillside. The remains were identified as Larsen within a few weeks. There was no evidence of foul play.

May 2004: Chad Richard Kirkendall, 23, of Caspar, was reported missing following a crash.

December 2004: Kathryn Rebecca LaMadrid, 40, was last seen walking across the old Noyo River Bridge.

James Denoyer
James Denoyer

May 2005: Donald Cavanaugh, 63, of Illinois, was reported missing. His vehicle was subsequently found in Westport. James Denoyer remains the only suspect in his uncle’s disappearance. Denoyer is presently a resident of Lake County.

May 2006: David Neily was reported missing although he had not been heard from since April. Police located his vehicles in Westport in July 2006. Mr. Neily was a long time resident of Albion. His disappearance is also linked to Denoyer. Both Cavenaugh and Neily worked for Denoyer at his “ranch” near Westport. Both their vehicles were found on Denoyer’s property. Denoyer was tried on animal cruelty charges when ill-cared for horses were found on his Westport property. The animal cruelty prosecution was botched by Mendocino County and Denoyer was acquitted. Denoyer presently lives in Lake County.

David Neily and Donald Cavenaugh
David Neily and Donald Cavenaugh

November 2005: Thomas Thurston, 19, was last seen in Ukiah on November 5 when he left to go on a camping trip on north Cow Mountain.

March 2007: George Cameron Hettrick, 57, of Philo. Human remains was found in a ranch in Philo in January 2008 and his remains were identified in February 2008. Hettrick, suffering from dementia, wandered away from his care home at the Holmes Ranch, Philo. He died from a combination of exposure and AIDS.

October 2010: Eric Christopher Grant was last seen working for Mendocino Redwood Company on October 27 near Navarro Ridge Road. His company vehicle was found at the overlook off Highway One. Neither he nor his remains have been found.

October 2012: The skeletal remains of an unidentified man, 25 to 45 years old, and between 5 ft. 11 and 6 ft. 5 inches tall was located on the shore of the Eel River north of Leggett.

April 2013: Genevieve Kathryn Alexander, 30, was reported missing in the Fort Bragg area. A pair of pants identified as Alexander’s was found at the beach.

May 2013: Erik Lamberg, 51, of Redondo Beach, was last seen in Laytonville on May 28. His car was found stuck in a ditch on June 1 on the Sherwood-Fort Bragg Road.

Sept. 2013: Skeletal remains were found along the Eel River near the Standish-Hickey State Park.

* * *

Linda Williams Notes: The list was primarily an on-line search through area media, and only includes missing people that did not result in either the person or their remains being located within a short time after going missing. It also includes cases where remains were found and never identified or identified months or years after the missing report was filed. The list does not include missing person’s reports filed in other jurisdictions where the last known location was in Mendocino or Humboldt counties.


  1. Christina February 10, 2015

    The Donald Cavanaugh (missing May 2005) & David Neily (missing May 2006) cases both make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. There is too much coincidence surrounding this man James (also known as Jim &/or Jimmy) DeNoyer & his involvement with both men.
    Why have they not dug deeper into things?
    Why was Neily’s son not called to witness or interviewed for a legal statement when James was on trial for something like 36 counts of animal abuse & neglect against his horses?
    Too many coincidences in these too cases & their obvious involvement with this man.
    When will someone dig deeper??? There needs to justice & closure for the families in these cases!

  2. Lisa September 2, 2015

    Good questions Christina & Thank You!
    The first horse abuse trial they sent an subpoena for my brother to my dad’s address in Albion, October 10, 2006. Ryan was not living there. The Sheriffs had his current info. The second trial my brother sent a notarized statement dated March 24th, 2008 to Katherine Houston, Deputy District Attorney with all updated contact info. He was never called.

    We can not afford a lawyer, PI or reward money. We are stuck!

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