Mendocino Coast resident Dave Stornetta remained missing Monday in remote southern Trinity County, six days after he was last seen by his son and others in his hunting party, authorities said.
The 59-year-old Manchester resident set out Wednesday morning from his camp to hunt in the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness northeast of Covelo, just over the Mendocino County border. He did not return to a designated meeting spot for lunch.
Regional search and rescue teams have been looking for the man since at least Friday but have not found him, Trinity County sheriff’s officials said. Stornetta’s cousin Kelly Richardson of Santa Rosa spent the weekend in the search area and said a group of friends and family have been camped there for several days to aid in the search.
Richardson said she was told the trained search-and-rescue teams are expected to abandon the effort soon, however she didn’t know when.
“We thank everyone for their prayers and positive thoughts,” Richardson said. “The (professional) search will end soon and it will be on family members and friends to keep looking.”
The Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness is a rugged, forested area with peaks pushing past 8,000 feet. It stretches 24 miles from east to west and 19 miles from north to south. Stornetta was camping in the Indian Dick and Soldier Ridge areas of the wilderness, Ward said. It takes about three hours to travel the 75 miles on Highways 101 and 162 through Covelo to that area, according to the Forest Service.
Trinity County sheriff’s spokeswoman Lynn Ward said she had no information about how many searchers were on the ground nor did she know what, if any, progress was made in finding Stornetta. A sergeant on the ground coordinating the search has sent a few text messages to dispatchers, but that is all, she said.
“Communications are few and far in between,” Ward said.
Ward said that there is no time limit for searches and it’s decided on a case-by-case basis how long volunteers will be kept in the field.
“They usually call off a search if they can’t find any evidence of a person. There’s not a strict timeline,” Ward said.
She did not know if they had found any evidence of Stornetta’s path in the woods.
The Marin County Search and Rescue team said that its members joined the search, which included people from Trinity, Contra Costa, Mendocino, Shasta and Tehama county volunteer search teams as well as members of Bay Area Mountain Rescue and California Rescue Dog Association.
According to the Marin group’s Facebook page, 15 members got to the area by midnight Thursday with equipment to provide a mobile command hub for the search. Photos show people being lowered from a helicopter and others in helmets and gear traversing steep, pine-forested terrain.
You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @jjpressdem.