Davey Johnson, a veteran automotive writer for numerous publications, has been missing since Wednesday, June 5, 2019. He was last heard from on California State Route 49. Here are the updates on his case and what we know so far.
UPDATE: Davey Johnson was found dead on July 20, 2019. Authorities recovered his body in the river where they were searching.
Friends said he was the victim of an accidental drowning.
The ORIGINAL STORY is below.
1. Davey Johnson Was Last Heard from Around 5 a.m. on Wednesday off Route 49
Johnson is an automotive journalist whose work has been published in publications like Car and Driver, Jalopnik, and Autoweek. He wrote for Jalopnik in the early years from 2005 to 2007 and helped establish the website, Jalopnik reported.
Some friends said that he was last heard from around 2 a.m. on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. He was driving somewhere along Route 49 when he was last heard from and heading home to Sacramento from the Mammoth area, Jalopnik reported. His girlfriend Jaclyn Trop and a friend had just seen him on Friday in Santa Monica, they shared on Facebook, and he was fine.
Trop told CBS News that she had last spoken to Johnson around 5 a.m. on Wednesday morning. She said that although he’s adventurous, disappearing is out of character for him.
His cell phone last pinged in Amador County around 8 a.m. on Wednesday, June 5, Jalopnik noted.
2. Johnson Had Difficult Driving Conditions, But Told a Friend He Made It to a Rest Stop & Was Enjoying Sitting by a Creek
The day he disappeared he had been dealing with difficult driving conditions and his cell phone died at one point. He texted Trop after being out of touch for about 12 hours, saying he’d been navigating icy roads and it had been tricky, Car and Driver shared.
According to Car and Driver and CBS News, his text read: “I had a great time before it got dark. I’m so sorry I worried you. Yes, I’m okay and alive, but I am wiped. That part of the Sierra is just stupidly spectacular. Anyway, I’m so sorry I worried you. Yes, I am okay and alive, but I am WIPED. I love you very much.”
Trop told CBS that she believes he rode from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on Sunday, June 2, then from Las Vegas to Mammoth Mountain. Then on Tuesday, to Sonora Pass, which is the second-tallest highway pass in Sierra Nevada. She said that he had texted a friend early on Wednesday saying he was at a rest stop by a creek and enjoying himself.
Car and Driver noted that his text to a friend was sent around 8:30 a.m. Pacific on Wednesday (5:30 a.m. Eastern) and he included pictures of a stream he was near. He said he was on his way home.
3. His Motorcycle Was Found at a Rest Stop & His Clothes Were Found Near a River, But His Wallet Was Missing
Johnson was test driving a black Honda CB1000R motorcycle — a press loaner — with license plate 3421. Police found the motorcycle on Route 49 at a rest area just after midnight on Saturday, June 8, Jalopnik reported. Friend Abigail Bassett said the motorcycle was near the north fork of the Mokelumne River. Other friends on social media said the motorcycle was found at Big Bar launch, on the North Fork. His backpack and computer were not with the motorcycle.
On June 8, Johnson’s friend Abigail Basset shared on Twitter that authorities had found his clothing, phone, and computer near a river off Big Bear Launch near Mokelumne Hill about 50 feet away from the rest stop. His wallet was not there. Basset has been helping his family and girlfriend Jaclyn Trop with the search by sharing updates and talking with the police.
Search and rescue is focusing on that region of the river with boats and a helicopter.
They are widening their search on Monday to focus mainly on the river and Route 49.
On Sunday, the search area spanned from the bridge on Route 49 crossing the Molkumne River to Pardee Recreation Center, Julia LaPalme shared on Instagram.
4. Police Are Checking Johnson’s Home for Forced Entry
Sacramento police sent someone to Davey’s Sacramento home to see if there were any signs of forced entry, Abigail Bassett shared.
On Sunday, family said on social media that police had advised them not to go into Johnson’s home until it was officially requested. The home has an alarm that would need disarming, requiring the police to help the family when they go inside. It’s unclear at the time of publication if police have been to the home yet.
5. A GoFundMe Has Been Set Up To Support the Search for Johnson
A GoFundMe has been set up to support the search for Johnson. So far, $9,795 has been raised. The GoFundMe reads: “We’re raising funds to benefit Calaveras County Search and Rescue, a volunteer arm of the Sheriff’s Department. This group has organized the search for Davey and is well positioned to determine what they need.”
If you have any information, please call the Calveras County Sheriff’s Office at 209-754-6500. Police are also looking for information on his banking or credit card details, to see if any of his cards have been used.