On Thursday, September 09, 2021 at approximately 1:30 PM skeletonized human remains were discovered within the Point Reyes National Seashore west of Five Brooks Trailhead within the Olema Valley. An individual passing off-trail discovered the remains, contacted law enforcement and advised them of their observations. The setting was within a remote part of the park not near the hiking trail system. Due to the position and rugged terrain not accessible by motorized means, the National Park Service Rangers hiked to the reported location and completed a scene investigation working collaboratively with Coroner Investigators. The remains were then transported from the scene to the Coroner Division laboratory for additional analysis and ongoing investigation. The overall condition of the remains and items located at the scene is suggestive of them having been exposed to the elements for a significant time period. A long and laborious investigation ensued to positively identify the subject utilizing multiple subject matter experts from multiple State and County agencies to aid the Coroner Division staff.
On December 20, 2021, the Coroner Division was informed the subject has been positively identified via Short Tandem Repeat (STR) Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) comparative analysis conducted by the State of California, Department Bureau of Forensic Services - Jan Bashinski DNA Laboratory staff. During the investigation multiple other subject matters experts were consulted in addition to friends / family of the subject to aid in the subject’s identity for which we are most grateful.
The decedent has been identified as: Gerritt Henry Vanderveer III, who would have been 44-years-old at the time he was last contacted and reported as missing on September 10, 2012. The subject’s body was discovered on September 09, 2021. At the time of his disappearance he was a resident of Petaluma, CA.
An examination and analysis of the recovered remains was completed on September 14, 2021, by Chief Forensic Pathologist Dr. Joseph Cohen. The cause and manner of death remain pending the conclusion of the investigations being completed by the Point Reyes National Seashore National Park Service Rangers and the Marin County Sheriff’s Office - Coroner Division. No further information will be released by the Coroner Division at this time, as this is an active and ongoing investigation. Any further questions regarding the incident should be directed to the Point Reyes National Seashore National Park Service Rangers.
Roger G. Fielding
Chief Deputy Coroner