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Human Remains Discovered by Forester Determined to be Albion Man Missing 15 Years

The following is a press release issued by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:

David Virgil Neily [Picture provided by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office]

On 05-07-2020, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a private forester representative who advised one of his employees had located what was believed to be human remains in a remote forested area west of Wilderness Lodge Road in the 15000 block of Branscomb Road in Branscomb, California. 

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Detectives responded to the location and recovered the partial human remains.  

The remains were then sent to Forensic Odontologist (California State Assembly Member) James Wood (DDS) for examination. 

In June of 2020, a sample was forwarded to the California Department of Justice DNA laboratory for DNA extraction and analysis.

In August of 2020, the remains were forwarded to the California State University, Chico Human Identification Laboratory for examination and analysis.  No evidence of trauma was identified or observed on the recovered remains. 

In September of 2021, the Mendocino County Coroner’s Office was advised of a successful DNA extraction from the provided sample. 

In October of 2021, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Division was advised of a positive match to an active Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Missing Persons Investigation (Case #2006-01611) and identified the partial human remains as missing person David Virgil Neily of Albion, California.  

David Neily was reported missing on 07-24-2006 from the area of Albion Ridge Road E.  The investigation at the time determined Neily was last seen near the end of March 2006 or beginning of April 2006 in Albion, California (Albion Ridge Road E).

Further investigation associated Neily with a property in the 24000 block of Howard Creek Road in Westport (California) where his vehicles were located.  Westport is located approximately 33 miles north of Albion with both being located on the Mendocino County north coastal area. 

The recovered remains were discovered to be about 3 1/2 miles from that general area of the Howard Creek Road property. 

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the circumstances concerning David Neily’s disappearance and ask for anyone with information concerning the last known whereabouts of David Neily to contact Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Detective Alex Johnston at (707) 463-4086 or the Sheriff’s Office Tip-line at (707) 234-2100. 

We would like recognize the assistance of California State Assembly Member James Wood (DDS); CSU, Chico Human Remains Laboratory CSU,Chico Anthropology Department); and the California Department of Justice Jan Bashinski DNA Laboratory for their assistance in identifying David Neily and providing the Neily family with some closure after more than 15 years of searching for him. 

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