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Mendocino County detective taking over search for missing Southern California man

  • Erik Lamberg

With no new leads to follow in a search for a missing Hermosa Beach man, last believed to be in a rugged, remote Mendocino County area, the dormant search now moves to the desk of a Mendocino County sheriff's detective.

Erik Lamberg, 51, who has suffered from bipolar disorder, was last seen May 27 where he'd been staying in Laytonville.

His van was found days later on a remote dirt road between Willits and Fort Bragg. An extensive multi-day search by deputies, trained search and rescue crews and bloodhounds found no sign of the man.

“We will be following up on any leads that are developed or passed along to us,” said Mendocino sheriff's Capt. Greg Van Patten Tuesday.

But with the obvious areas already covered weeks ago, there currently isn't an active search, he said.

Sheriff's Sgt. Jason Caudillo Tuesday said a journal found in Lamberg's van and other evidence will now be given a closer look by a detective.

“We so much want to have him found. It's so painful to be in this position,” said Erik's wife, Samantha Lamberg.

She said her husband, a naturally gentle man, had suffered from mental issues and various addictions for years.

Erik Lamberg had left Hermosa Beach in May intending to get to Oregon. The married father of two children, 10 and 14, had hoped to find a residential program to check into and get healthy.

He was last known to be staying at the Laytonville Budget Inn and checked out May 28.

He'd phoned home each day and when he didn't call on May 29, his wife reported him as missing.

Nothing came of a trace of his credit cards or by checking his cellphone, sheriff's officials have said.

His van was found June 1, stuck in a ditch on heavily wooded Sherwood Road, about 12 miles east of Fort Bragg and 20 miles west of Willits.

During the initial searches, one sheriff's search volunteer suffered a broken ankle when his ATV crashed. Another sheriff's evidence technician suffered heat exhaustion while processing the van in extreme heat, said Van Patten.

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