MENDOCINO Co., 12/12/18 — The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office has released the identity of the body which was found deceased in the Eel River near Piercy on December 5. The remains have been identified as those of Bruce Allen Thompson, of Santa Rosa, a 52 year old man who was last seen departing Eureka.
Thompson was last seen by a relative in Eureka as he began his return to Santa Rosa, but he was not seen after that and reportedly missed a medical appointment. His remains were first found by a wildlife photographer in the South Fork Eel River, near Piercy. Thompson's family had filed a missing person report, and contacted the Sheriff's Office after seeing a news report that a body had been located in the area. The press release notes that Thompson, "had been suffering from depression due to a serious decline in his health recently."
No information is currently available as to the cause of death; additional medical tests are currently being conducted. You can read the initial report from the wildlife photographer from our sister paper Kym Kemp here.
Here's the full press release from MCSO:
MEDIA ADVISORY/NEWS RELEASE
DATE: "December 12, 2018"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Incident Number: 2018-35701
Crime/Incident: Coroner's Case, Found Human Remains ** UPDATE REMAINS IDENTIFIED**
Location: In the South Fork of the Eel River
84000 Block of Highway 271, Piercy CA
Date of Incident: 12-05-2018
Time: 12:39 PM
Victim(s): Bruce Allen Thompson, 52 years of age, Santa Rosa CA
Written By: Lieutenant Shannon Barney
Synopsis: UPDATED PRESS RELEASE
On Tuesday 12/11/18 an autopsy was preformed on the previously unidentified human remains located in the Eel River in Piercy CA, on 12/05/2018. The Mendocino County Coroner's Office was able to positively identify the decedent as that of Bruce Allen Thompson, 52 years of age, out of Santa Rosa CA. The decedent had last been seen by a relative in Eureka, CA on 11/13/2018 when he left, saying he was going back home in Sonoma County. The relative did not hear from the decedent by 11/15/2018 and learned that he'd missed a medical appointment. The decedent had been suffering from depression due to a serious decline in his health recently. A missing persons case was then filed with the Santa Rosa Police Department.
The cause and manner of death are not available due to additional medical tests being conducted.
On 12/5/2018 at approximately 12:39 PM the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a call related to found human remains in the South Fork of the Eel River, just south of the Humboldt/Mendocino County line in Piercy CA. The body was first observed by a wildlife photographer around 9:00 AM but the photographer did not recognize it as human remains at first, thinking it might have been a deceased animal. The photographer later examined the photographs and showed them to a friend where they decided to contacted a member of the Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue Team (SHTRT) about their concern. SHTRT notified the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and then responded to the location with a swift water team to assist in confirming if there was a human body and if so, to assist in body recovery. The SHTRT entered the river with a raft and navigated to a closer vantage point where it was confirmed to be a human body entangled in branches of a downed tree laying partially in the water of the Eel River.
The SHTRT was able to free the body from the tree branches and then navigate back to the shoreline. The body appeared to be that of a white male adult, over 6 feet tall, with a heavy build. The decedent appeared to have been in the water for a week or more and did not have any identification on him.
On 12/6/2018 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was contacted by a family member of a missing adult male from Santa Rosa CA. The family member advised they heard of the story on a local news outlet. This family member indicated her brother had visited her in Eureka and was last seen leaving to go back to his home in Santa Rosa. This was in mid-November and her brother had not been seen or heard from since then. The Santa Rosa Police Department does have an active missing persons investigation on the caller's brother. The missing person matches the description of the male who was recovered. The missing persons vehicle was later located near Confusion Hill, approximately 6 miles upstream from where the body was located.
The cause of death is not yet know and an autopsy is schedule for Tuesday 12/11/2018. No further information will be released about the recovered body or the missing person's identify until the remains are positively identified.
Approved by: Lieutenant Shannon Barney