◼ 'Serene' spot near Trinidad the site of suspicious death
For the second time in about a week, the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office has found a body and believes the cause of death to be suspicious.
According to a sheriff's press release, rangers with California State Parks responded to a home on Patricks Point Drive north of Trinidad at the request of the Sheriff's Office, to talk to a “resident” there about a vehicle. While there, rangers found a man dead in the home, the release states.
”Humboldt County sheriff's deputies and the Coroner's Office responded to the residence and established that the death appears suspicious,” states the release.
◼ Man found in Trinidad RV park identified
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate the suspected homicide of a Trinidad man, identified on Tuesday as 59-year-old William John Lundy.
...Investigators are withholding some of the details of the case to “protect the integrity of the investigation,” said Brenda Godsey, spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office, including where Lundy was wounded and if there were signs of a struggle.
So far, witnesses have reported last seeing Lundy alive on Thursday, Sept. 3, Godsey said.
”No one has reported hearing a gunshot yet,” she said.
The Sheriff's Office is also trying to determine if Lundy lived alone in his fifth wheel travel trailer or if he shared his residence.
An arrest in Kansas started the investigation that led to the body's discovery.
The Kansas Highway Patrol arrested a man for felony evasion in Ellsworth County on Saturday. He was driving a green Buick LeSabre that was registered to Lundy in Trinidad with California plates. KHP determined the circumstances were suspicious and requested that the Sheriff's Office conduct a welfare check on the vehicle's owner, Godsey said.
Lundy's car had not been reported as stolen. The KHP was unable to provide details of its case by deadline.
Godsey said the KHP officers were doing “good police work” by following up on the suspicious circumstances and asking for a welfare check.
◼ Trinidad man remembered by friends as a 'sweetheart'
When Dave Cormack heard about the death of an old co-worker, the possibility of it being a homicide was the last thing on his mind.
”I thought it was a health issue,” Cormack said. “When I first heard that it might be murder, that floored me.”
William John Lundy, 59, was found dead from a gunshot wound in his fifth-wheel travel trailer in a Trinidad RV Park on Sept. 5, according to the Humboldt County Coroner's Office.
Lundy and Cormack had worked together for the city of Escondido for about 10 years. Lundy was a “sweetheart,” Cormack said.
”He'd give you the shirt off his back on a freezing day, if he had it,” Cormack said.
Lundy was often living a “hand-to-mouth” existence without much money, Cormack said. Both had lived in Del Norte County for a while until Lundy had some problems at an RV park in Smith River last year. He moved to Trinidad right before Christmas.
Cormack hadn't seen Lundy since then. He still has an undelivered Christmas present for him, a gift he meant to give last year.
Witnesses last report seeing Lundy alive on Sept. 3, and no one in the area reported hearing a gunshot, according to the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office.
After Cormack read about Lundy's violent death, he tried to think of who could have done this.
”I am absolutely drawing a blank. ... ,” he said. “I don't know anybody who would wish him ill will.”
Another confusing aspect of the case is where Lundy's car was found -- halfway across the country, in the state of Kansas.
Officers with the Kansas Highway Patrol stopped a green Buick LeSabre in Ellsworth County for felony evasion, and the car -- with California plates -- was registered to Lundy, according to the Sheriff's Office. Local investigators are currently in Kansas, interviewing the driver to determine how the car got there.
Cormack said Lundy traded a gas-guzzling Ford truck for that Buick because Lundy said “it costs $4 to get out of the driveway” in the truck.
”He paid $600 for that Buick,” Cormack said. “It wasn't worth getting shot for.”
There also wasn't much of value to steal from Lundy's trailer, Cormack said. Cormack was aware of only two valuables -- unused tickets to the original Woodstock concert, and an automatic rifle.
Although Cormack hadn't seen Lundy in a while, Cormack remembers him as a little rough around the edges but also as a man who wrote poetry and painted.
”He was a big, gentle guy underneath,” he said.
◼ Sheriff's investigation in Kansas leads to warrant for Trinidad death