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Have you seen Jason Kyles?


The search for a troubled Sacramento man that was all but abandoned four months ago has gained renewed momentum in recent weeks after more than a dozen reported sightings in the Santa Rosa area.

Several locals believe they have spotted Jason Kyles, a lanky 6-foot-6 man, walking along city streets in the past month or so, his wife said Monday.

But an intensive volunteer search over the weekend, when Rebecca Kyles and others crawled under bridges and canvassed homeless encampments around Howarth Park and Santa Rosa Avenue, failed to yield the happy ending Kyles' family awaits.

"I'm not going to stop until I find him," said Rebecca Kyles, his wife of four years. "We just need to save him."

She's finding help from a growing crowd of Santa Rosans who have joined search parties, passed out fliers and spread the word about Kyles' plight.

"Honestly, I can't explain what it is," said Hank Howerton, 37, who took time from his job at a dental lab Monday to canvass Santa Rosa Avenue. "I think, it's just this regular dude who had this episode. It could damn near happen to anyone. And if it was a loved one of mine, I would sure as hell want people to jump in and help."

"I just really kind of wanted to help her out," said another stalwart, Tyler Briggs, 29, an unemployed emergency medic who has regularly hiked Annadel State Park, the last place Kyles was seen until recent developments redirected the search.

Kyles, a 34-year-old landscape contractor, disappeared Feb. 1 from his Sacramento home after weeks of increasingly unusual behavior that suggested a history of seasonal depression had evolved into something far more serious, his wife said.

He'd been sleepless and hyper, and became fixated on religious topics, she said. Then one day in late January, he bought a $100 top hat that he wore for a walk along the river. He told his wife that, atop his already impressive height, the hat scared people and made them run away. When he talked, it was as if his mouth couldn't keep pace with his mind.

Two days later, Rebecca Kyles drove off to work and her husband packed his pickup with an assortment of odds and ends, including a bird bath, a piece of carpeting, some pictures and her son's guitar, and drove away. He left a note saying he had gone to visit a cousin in New York. He was going to play music and make millions. She wasn't to worry.

The next morning, Sonoma County authorities called after finding Kyles' truck parked near Lawndale Road and Annadel. A nearby resident reported finding Kyles in her barn, where he wept, saying that her "horses are so sad ... I can't leave," Rebecca Kyles said.

After that, he seemed to go into the park, where a bicyclist reported seeing him chanting and naked. A search crew found his clothing scattered on a steep hill, with the tags torn out of each garment. There were Christmas ornaments in his coat pockets and refrigerator magnets in his pants, his wife said. He left his driver's license, too.

A six-day search of the park, which involved more than 250 people at one point, was suspended when no other leads developed.

Rebecca Kyles has coped with the mystery by continuing to search for her husband, joined by volunteer supporters in smaller numbers. She says she was sure her husband had died, focusing a search for his remains around Lawndale Road.

But in early April, someone reported seeing a man they believed was Kyles on Mendocino Avenue, across from Santa Rosa Junior College, prompting a three-day search. Last Tuesday, two or three people reported seeing Kyles on Santa Rosa Avenue near Costco. Someone else thought they saw him at a discount motel in Rohnert Park late Sunday night.

Santa Rosa resident Susan Walling, human resources manager for Oliver's Markets, said she saw a tall, skinny man whose lost expression drew her attention and sympathy twice in early May on Montgomery Drive near Summerfield Road. He was barefoot, carrying bright green sneakers both times, and was unusually tall like her three sons, the shortest of whom is 6-foot-6. She saw him again May 21 on the west side of Railroad Square.

Last week, she learned through a Facebook posting that Kyles was still missing and realized it was the man she'd seen. "I'm 110 percent positive," Walling said Monday, during a lunch-hour drive up along Santa Rosa Avenue and into Rohnert Park, where there's been a possible sighting.

She spent Sunday riding Santa Rosa Creek with her husband, and planned to commute by bike this week to improve her chances of spotting the missing man.

"I just feel compelled for some reason to really get involved and help with this one," said Walling, a mother of five . "... As a parent I would never want this nightmare."

Kyles is extremely tall and thin, and has a very long torso, his wife said. It appears he has been shaving his face, but his usually short hair is probably longer and curlier.

Sheriff's Lt. Dennis O'Leary said the department has stayed in touch with Kyles' family and has followed up leads when they come in. Deputies also keep Kyles' photo and description in their daily briefing books, reminding them he's still missing.

Anyone who thinks they see Kyles should call sheriff's dispatch at (707) 565-2121 and try to keep an eye on him until law enforcement arrives. Rebecca Kyles worries her husband might be scared or trying to avoid attention, but is convinced his behavior is guided by untreated mental illness.

More information is available at Find Jason Kyles on Facebook, or by contacting 916-340-5242 or findjasonkyles@gmail.com.

"Any day I just feel like the phone is going to ring, and it's going to be good," his wife said.