Missing and Wanted Persons
Browse this section to find information and photos (when available) for missing persons and persons wanted by law enforcement agencies.
Update: Nov. 18,2013 - Sixteen-year-old Katie Helberg, previously reported to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office as a runaway juvenile at risk due to medical concerns, was found yesterday (Sun., Nov. 17) in good health, according to a press release from HCSO.
The original post on this story appears below.
According to a press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Katie Helberg (shown in the photo), a 16 year old white female, was reported missing from her home in Eureka on the morning of Sat., Nov.9. Her family reported that she has health issues and requires medication.
Katie is further described as: approximately 5’4” tall, 130 pounds, with blue eyes and long blond straight hair. She wears braces on her teeth that have purple and green rubber bands on them. She was last seen wearing blue jeans, a black t-shirt with an “Alaska” logo on the front, and was wearing tennis shoes. Anyone with information about this missing person is asked to call: the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or Detective Greg Musson at 707-268-3643. The complete press release can be viewed below.
HCSO press release, dated Nov. 14, 2013::
On 11-10-2013, at approximately 8:45 p.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a missing 16 year old female, Katie Helberg. Katie’s mother reported she last saw Katie at home in Eureka during the morning of 11-9-2013. Katie has health issues and needs medication. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office would appreciate the public’s help in locating her.
Katie Helberg is further described as follows: 16 years old, white female, approximately 5’4” tall, approximately 130 pounds, she has blue eyes and long blond straight hair. She wears braces on her teeth. The braces have purple and green rubber bands on them. She was last seen wearing blue jeans, a black t- shirt with “Alaska” logo on the front, and tennis shoes.
Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or Detective Greg Musson at 707-268-3643.
Update - Fri., Nov. 15, 2013: According to a press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, at around 1:00 p.m. today Michael Gabriel’s mother notified Hoopa Tribal Police that Michael had returned home. A Hoopa Tribal Police Officer met with Michael and his parents and found that Michael was in good health and had left his residence voluntarily.
The original post on this story appears below.
Thirteen year old Michael James Gabriel (shown in this photo provided by his parents) has been missing since Fri., November 8, 2013 and might be staying in the McKinleyville area, according to a press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office. Michael was last seen leaving his home in Hoopa.
Michael is described as follows: Native American, 13 years old, 5’ 3” tall, approximately 115 pounds, brown hair and brown eyes. If you have any information about this missing boy, please call: the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539. The press release appears below.
HCSO press release, dated Nov. 14, 2013:
On 11-13-2013, at approximately 10:40 a.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a missing 13 year old male. Family and school officials reported Michael James Gabriel 13 years old has been missing since November 8, 2013 and was last seen leaving home in Hoopa. He is possibly staying in the McKinleyville area. Due to his age he is considered a high risk missing juvenile. The Sheriff’s Office would appreciate the public’s help in locating Michael.
Michael James Gabriel is described as follows: Native American, 13 years old, 5’ 3” tall, approximately 115 pounds, brown hair and brown eyes
Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.
Two victims, both Humboldt State University students, were stabbed at a residence in the 1500 block of Stromberg Avenue, Arcata on Sun. Sept. 29. The suspect was described by witnesses as a white male adult in his early 20's, wearing a white long sleeve thermal shirt, a black baseball cap and a long silver chain around his neck. The suspect fled the scene in a silver vehicle (unknown make or model) prior to the arrival of police. The police are asking for the public's assistance in locating the man shown in the photo above, who was present at the time of the incident and may have information critical to the case. The Arcata PD press release appears below.
Arcata Police Department Press Release, dated Tues., Oct 22, 2013:
The Arcata Police Department is requesting assistance in identifying witnesses to a stabbing that occurred on September 29th, 2013.
On 9/29/2013 at about 2:00 am, the Arcata Police Department responded to a residence at the 1500 block of Stromberg Avenue for a report of a stabbing that had just occurred there. Upon their arrival, officers learned that two male victims had been stabbed. The victims, both Humboldt State University students, were transported by friends to Mad River Community Hospital for emergency treatment. Once at the hospital, officers learned that one of the victims sustained one stab wound. The other victim sustained multiple stab wounds.
The suspect was described by witnesses as a white male adult in his early 20's, wearing a white long sleeve thermal shirt, a black baseball cap and a long silver chain around his neck. The suspect fled the scene in a silver vehicle (unknown make or model) prior to the arrival of police.
During the course of the investigation, detectives developed information that the individual in the attached photo was at the party at the time of the incident and may have information critical to the case.
The Arcata Police Department requests that anyone who recognizes the man in the photo or any person(s) who may have witnessed the incident contact Detective Chris Ortega. The investigation is on-going and assistance is being provided by the Humboldt State University Police Department.
Update: Mon., Oct 14, 2013 - Missing Hunter, Gene Penaflor, found alive
After spending a total of 19 days lost in the Yuki Wilderness area, missing hunter Gene Penaflor was found this Saturday (Oct 12) about 3 miles from the point where he was last seen by his hunting partner . From his hospital bed Penaflor reported being knocked unconscious by a fall, while hunting, and awakening disoriented and engulfed in a thick bank of fog. Penaflor was able to use his survival skills to keep alive for 19 days until he was heard shouting for help by a group of hunters and was subsequently located and rescued.
Details on the disappearance and rescue of missing hunter Gene Penaflor can be found below in the press release from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.
On the morning of 9/25/2013, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a report from a deer hunter that his hunting partner, Gene Penaflor, had gone missing in the early morning hours of 9/24/2013 in the area of Bloody Rock in the Mendocino National Forest. This area of the Forest was determined to be in Lake County and the case was referred to the Lake County Sheriff's Office and the Lake County Search and Rescue Unit (SAR). By late afternoon the Lake County Sheriff's Office had located the hunters camp and found it was well inside the County of Mendocino, so the case was transferred back to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. The Lake County SAR Unit continued to assist with the search that was conducted throughout the night and into the following morning but Gene was not located.
On 9/26/2013 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office called for Mutual Aid resources from allied SAR units as the search continued over the next three days. The Search and Rescue teams developed a missing persons profile with the assistance from the hunting partner and members of the Penaflor family to assist in the search. The search area, ranging from 5000 to 6200 feet above sea level, was covered extensively but Gene was not located. The search was suspended due to no clues beign found to suggest the whereabouts of Gene and due to a significant incoming storm. Members of the following agenices assisted with the search in the first four days: Lake County SAR, Marin County SAR, Sonoma County SAR, Tehama County SAR, Glenn County SAR, Siskiyou County SAR, Salano County SAR, Monterey County SAR, Contra Costa County SAR, San Mateo County SAR, Sutter County SAR, Bay Area Mountian Rescue Unit (BAMRU), California Explorer Search and Rescue (Cal ESAR), California Rescue Dog Associ!
ation (CARDA), CHP Air Operations Redding Unit, United States Forest Service Law Enforcement Officers, and the California Office of Emergency Services Law Enforcement Division.
The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office reactivated the search on 10/12/2013 and again called for Mutual Aid resources. The following agencies responded to assist: Marin County SAR, Lake County SAR, Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit, California Rescue Dog Association, Monterey County SAR, and US Forest Service Law Enforcement. Around 8:30 AM the Mendocino County Sheriff's Dispatch received a call from a hunter in the area of where the search was being conducted. This caller reported he was with a large group of hunters and someone from his group could hear someone calling for help in the bottom of a canyon nearby. He said members of his party were trying to locate the person. Due to poor cellular telephone service the call was lost numerous times and his exact location was not known. The caller was instructed to dial 911 and the GPS coordinates were obtained for his postion. SAR units were then dispatched to his location.
The hunter later called to say that his hunting group had located the person calling for help, determined it was Gene Penaflor, and were rendering aid to him. The group of hunters then rigged a makeshift stretcher from their coats and several poles they cut in the area. They then started to carry Gene up the steep hillside towards recue teams decending to the location. It took several hours for the rescue units to make it to the hunters due to the difficult terrain. Gene was then evaluated medically and it was determined he should be extracted via helicopter. SAR units located a suitable landing zone and Cal Star 4 Air Ambulance was called to extricate Gene to the Ukiah Valley Medical Center for medical treatment.
Gene was located approximately 3.25 miles from the point where he was last seen by his hunting partner. He spent a total of 19 days lost in the Yuki Wilderness area. During this time it snowed numerous times, temperatures ranged between 25 and 70 degrees at times. He was later interviewed at the hospital where he said he travelled further away from the road than he had planned on his hunting excursion. At one point on the first day he fell and hit his head, rendering him unconscious for an undetermined amount of time. When he awoke he was disoriented and a thick bank of fog had enveloped him. He walked for a time but eventually stopped as he did not know where he was at. He was able to make a fire and warm himself with leaves and grasses that he packed around his body. On days when it rained or snowed he was able to crawl under a large log to stay dry. He was able to kill and eat several squirrels in the area and there was plenty of water in a nearby drainage to sustain himself.
The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office would like to thank the group of hunters who suspended their efforts to hunt and go above and beyond in trying to locate the person calling for help. Their quick thinking to notify rescue teams and seek assistance while also rendering aid to Gene was critical to his being rescued and returned alive to his family. We would also like to thank all the volunteer SAR members from so many agencies who responded to assist in this case.
The original post on this story appears below.
Gene Penaflor, a 72 year old man, went missing during a hunting trip on Sept. 24, 2013 in the Mendocino National Forest. Penaflor, an experienced hunter possessing survival skills and excellent knowledge about wilderness areas, was hunting with a partner the day he went missing. As was their custom, the two hunted separately and then planned to rendezvous for lunch together around noon. However this time, Penaflor did not show at the rendezvous point, as planned, and has not been seen since.
Gene Penaflor is a father and grandfather, and the family is asking for assistance from the public in providing any information regarding this missing person case. Anyone with information that may help is asked to please contact the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department at (707) 463-4411 or Jeremy Penaflor, Gene’s son, at (415) 533-0000.
Use the player below to hear more on this missing person case, including an interview with Jeremy Penaflor, the missing man's son. This story was submitted by KMUD News Anchor Eileen Russell and broadcast on the KMUD Local news Mon., Oct. 7, 2013.
Salvatore Ted Arena, age 42, of Freshwater is being sought for suspected abandonment of three dogs, Angel, Becky and Ginger, that had belonged to his brother who passed away this February. According to a press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, Arena is believed to have left the area headed for the east coast, and they will be seeking warrant for his arrest. The original and updated press releases appear below.
HCSO Press Release, dated Aug. 22, 2013:
On 08/21/13 an Officer from the California Highway Patrol brought three dogs into the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Animal Shelter that were found running in the roadway on New Navy Base Road at Lincoln Avenue in Fairhaven. The dogs are a black Labrador retriever mix, approximately 12 years old, a brown German shepherd mix, approximately 10 years old, and a brown Airedale Terrier mix, approximately 10 years old. All three dogs are female.
On 08/21/13 Animal Shelter staff located a posting on Craigslist from 08/08/13 from an unidentified person in Freshwater who stated that their neighbor is/was moving to the East Coast and had three dogs that he could not keep. There were photos of the dogs on the Craigslist posting and they are the same dogs as those brought into the shelter. The back yard of a residence is clearly visible in one of the photographs.
On 08/22/13 Animal Shelter staff located a second posting on Craigslist about the dogs. This posting is from someone who saw a male subject abandon the dogs on New Navy Base Road and Bay St. The posting states that a male subject in his mid-30’s with short hair, driving a newer black 4 wheel drive truck left the dogs and was telling them to “stay” as he drove away. One of the dogs was nearly struck by a car while chasing the truck down the road. It is not clear if the person responsible for this Craigslist post was the person who reported the loose dogs to CHP. Animal Shelter staff has replied to both Craigslist postings but have not received any response.
Abandonment of an animal is a crime. The Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Division is asking for the public’s help to identify the owner of these dogs. Anyone who recognizes the dogs and/or the back yard of the residence in the photographs is asked to call Animal Control Officer Hale at 707-840-9132 or the Crime Tip Line, 707-268-2539
HCSO Updated Press Release, dated Aug., 23, 2013:
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has positively identified the suspect in this case as Salvatore Ted Arena, age 42, of Freshwater. The three dogs, Angel, Becky and Ginger, had belonged to Arena’s brother who passed away suddenly in February of this year. Arena began trying to surrender the dogs to local rescues about one week ago stating that he was moving to the East Coast. Gail Holder of K-9 Angels Rescue had been in frequent contact with Arena and was working to try to get the dogs into foster care. She received a call from him on 08/21/13 just before the dogs were found abandoned in Fairhaven. Arena told her that he had to leave the following morning and that he could not put the dogs in his truck and take them across the country with him.
The Sheriff’s Office will be seeking a warrant for Arena’s arrest. At this time we have reason to believe that he has already left the area. Anyone having information to the contrary is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Animal Control Division, 707 840-9132, or the Crime Tip Line, 707-268-2539.