Wednesday, 24 April 2024


NORTH COAST, Calif. — The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said it has identified the woman whose body was found in the Russian River late last month.

The woman was identified as Caitlin Bunger, a 37-year-old female who was reportedly a transient in the Ukiah area.

Her body was found by a kayaker in the area of Morrison Creek and Old River Road on the afternoon of Sunday, March 24.

On March 27, a post-mortem examination was conducted as a part of this coroner's investigation.

Sheriff's office personnel researched recent missing person investigations and identified a subject who was a possible match to the physical characteristics of the decedent from this case.

During the post-mortem examination, medical records for the subject reported as missing were compared to the decedent from this investigation. From examining these medical records, the decedent was identified as Bunger.

As a part of this continuing investigation, representatives from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Coroner's Unit contacted the legal next-of-kin for Bunger and notified them of her death.

According to Bunger's family, she had moved to California approximately five to six months prior to this investigation.

From researching sheriff's office records, Bunger had been reported as a missing person to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office in October and again in March.

During previous investigations, it was reported that Bunger was homeless and frequented the Perkins Street Bridge area in Ukiah.

The cause and manner of Bunger's death are still being investigated and there are no preliminary findings that can be released at this time from the post-mortem examination.

Anyone with information related to this investigation is requested to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office at 707-463-4086.

Information can also be provided anonymously by calling the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office non-emergency tip line at 707-234-2100.

CDFW forensics laboratory testing of DNA samples. Photo courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has confirmed that the mountain lion euthanized in a remote area near Georgetown on Saturday was the same animal involved in a fatal attack earlier in the day.

CDFW’s Wildlife Forensics Laboratory determined on Sunday that DNA samples collected from the scene match samples taken from the lion carcass.

The male mountain lion weighed approximately 90 pounds and appeared to be in healthy condition.

On March 23, CDFW wildlife officers responded to a reported mountain lion attack involving 18- and 21-year-old brothers.

The men had been antler shed hunting in a remote area near Georgetown in El Dorado County when they were attacked.

The younger brother sustained injuries but was able to call 911; the older brother was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders.

In the interest of public safety, CDFW authorized a professional trapper, who was able to locate and euthanize the mountain lion within a few hours of the incident.

“First and foremost, our hearts go out to the families and loved ones affected by this tragic incident. Our thoughts are with them during this difficult time,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham.

Mountain lion encounters are uncommon in California but do occasionally occur. Most of the state is suitable mountain lion habitat.

However, this is the first confirmed fatality from a mountain lion attack in California since 2004.

CDFW will remain in close coordination with the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office as standard pathology and other assessments of the lion are completed. Forensic scientists will continue analyzing necropsy results to determine whether there were underlying health conditions related to this particular animal.

Learn more: Mountain Lions in California.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning from noon Friday to 8 a.m. Sunday. Snow accumulation is forecast between 8 to 18 inches above 5,000 feet and 2 to 3 feet at the highest peaks. Wind gusts are also forecast up to 45 mph. Motorists should be prepared for chain controls, reduced visibility, additional travel times and delays.

If motorists travel during the storm, Caltrans advises to pack extra supplies in the event of an emergency or if traffic is held for an extended period of time. Those supplies should include extra snacks, water, a blanket, and a flashlight.

In the Sacramento Valley, rain amounts are forecast between 0.5 and 1 inch. The highest amounts are anticipated near Redding and into the foothills. Motorists should be prepared for slick travel conditions and longer than normal commute times.

Updates to the forecast can be found on the National Weather Service website. Motorists are also encouraged to check Caltrans’ QuickMap before traveling for current road conditions and chain requirements or download the QuickMap app from the App Store or Google Play. Road information is also available on Caltrans’ website or by calling the California Highway Information Network automated phone service at 1-800-427-ROAD (7623).

Caltrans District 3 is responsible for maintaining and operating 4,385 lane miles in 11 Sacramento Valley and Northern Sierra counties.

NORTH COAST, Calif. — The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office is working to identify a woman whose body was found in the Russian River.

At 4:30 p.m. Sunday a kayaker on the Russian River called the Ukiah Police Department to report they had possibly observed a human body in the river.

The police department notified the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office of the incident as the location was in the county jurisdiction.

Sheriff's office personnel along with numerous fire agencies responded to the area of Morrison Creek and Old River Road and began searching the area for the possible body.

Fire personnel utilized an unmanned aerial vehicle to search the river area. At about 5:35 p.m. Sunday, fire personnel located a deceased subject in the river, authorities said.

The sheriff’s office said fire personnel trained in swift water rescue entered the fast-moving water and were able to safely remove the deceased from the waterway.

Sheriff's deputies were on scene and began a coroner's Investigation. The female adult decedent was in a state of advanced decomposition which made it impossible to identify the subject. It appeared the decedent had been in the water for some time, and no obvious signs of external trauma were observed.

The case is currently under investigation and anyone with information related to this investigation is requested to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office at 707-463-4086.

Information can also be provided anonymously by calling the Sheriff's Office nonemergency tip line at 707-234-2100.

Additional information regarding this investigation and the identification of the decedent will be released when it becomes available.

Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal has proclaimed a local emergency as a result of the significant impact of the Fleener Creek/Centerville landslide located west of Ferndale.

These ongoing landslides have been progressing significantly since January and are now threatening to impact the main entry and exit route to multiple residences, ranches and recreational areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

This is a clear threat to the safety of Humboldt County residents and will require immediate protective actions to ensure safe routes of travel are retained, and access to hazard areas are limited; these impacts are exhausting and exceed available county resources.

The Humboldt County Department of Public Works and Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services are actively engaged in exploring options for alternative routes.

A local emergency proclamation is a prerequisite to request state or federal assistance for landslide related response and recovery efforts.

For updated information regarding Humboldt County’s emergency response, please go to and visit @HumCoOES on Facebook and Twitter. To sign up to receive text and email alerts of Humboldt County’s road conditions updates, visit

BERRY SUMMIT, Calif. — Caltrans partnered with several Humboldt County tribes to break ground recently on a project that will improve welcoming amenities for visitors to the popular Berry Summit Vista Point and honor the lives and history of the Yurok, Hoopa Valley, Karuk, Whil'kut, and other tribes that inhabit the area.

The Berry Summit Vista Point along Route 299 is renowned for breathtaking views and starry nighttime skies, but it has long lacked key services for travelers.

The project will add toilet facilities, solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations, a picnic area featuring local drought-resistant vegetation, night-sky-friendly solar lighting, informational kiosks, and decorative garbage cans.

Expected to be completed by early summer, the $759,00 effort was made possible by Governor Gavin Newsom’s Clean California Initiative — a sweeping, $1.2 billion, multiyear clean-up effort led by Caltrans to remove trash, create thousands of jobs, and join with communities throughout the state to reclaim, transform and beautify public spaces.

These enhancements to the popular scenic overlook destination will improve safety, increase convenience, and make for a more enjoyable recreational experience for travelers from across the state.

"A major element of Clean California is to inspire local pride and stewardship,” said Caltrans Director Tony Taveras. “This project reflects that spirit through the involvement of many exceptional local development partners, including local tribes, Humboldt County, the Humboldt County Association of Governments, CHP-Humboldt, and CAL-ORE Life Flight.”

Yolanda Latham of the Whil'kut tribe added, "This project will surely help those traveling through our region and ancestral territory, and I hope that many families will feel a bit safer when traveling with the elderly and little ones."

Humboldt County Supervisor Steve Madrone added, “The efforts by Caltrans and the Clean California team have been commendable. The project at Berry Summit Vista Point was developed by reaching out to tribes and the community to make meaningful improvements.”

Clean California has funded 319 projects statewide to revitalize and beautify underserved communities, some of which are already complete and now sources of community pride. Projects are improving public spaces, tribal lands, parks, neighborhoods, transit centers, walking paths, streets, roadsides, recreation fields, community gathering spots, and places of cultural importance or historical interest in underserved communities.

Since launching Clean California in July 2021, Caltrans has removed nearly 2.3 million cubic yards of litter from state highways – or enough to fill about 700 Olympic-size swimming pools.

The program has also created more than 15,000 jobs that have helped Californians overcome barriers to employment and drawn more than 10,000 volunteers to events ranging from community cleanups to large debris collections for appliances, tires, and mattresses.

For further information, visit
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