Saturday, September 23, 2023

Elderly Santa Rosa Man Missing Nearly Two Weeks Known to Visit Mendocino County Coast—Residents Asked to Be On the Lookout

64-year-old Santa Rosa man Lawrence “Larry” Atchison has been missing for nearly two weeks after leaving his Bennet Valley residence on foot and walking toward an unknown destination. 

Yesterday, a new piece of information emerged that pointed towards the possibility Atchison could have made his way north to Mendocino County.

According to Chief Neil Cervenka of the Fort Bragg Police Department, Atchison was formerly employed as a commercial truck driver which brought him to Fort Bragg occasionally. Chief Cervenka told us there are no specific sightings or reports of the 64-year-old man being in the Fort Bragg area since going missing, just the potential he could have traveled to the Mendocino County Coast having spent time there for his job.

Atchison’s fate remains a mystery despite multi-agency search and rescue efforts on land and from the air and a community looking for any sign of the at-risk elder suffering from dementia when he disappeared.

According to information released by the Santa Rosa Police Department, Atchison left his Santa Rosa home on February 27, 2023. Immediately, law enforcement, emergency personnel, and search and rescue began to comb the area for any sign of the missing man. Helicopters and drones were deployed.

Investigators obtained residential surveillance footage from the corner of Summerfield Road and Carissa Avenue that indicated Atchison was in that area around 4:15 p.m. on the afternoon he walked off.

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On March 2, 2023, dozens of search and rescue personnel converged in the area including members of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team. 

The last public update from the Santa Rosa Police Department from March 3, 2023 asks residents of the Bennet Valley area to “check anywhere on your property where someone might seek shelter (outbuildings, cars, underbrush, under porches, decks, etc.) and home security footage.”

Multiple search and rescue agencies from Northern California amassed on March 2, 2023 to assist in the search for Lawrence Atchison [PIcture from the Santa Rosa Police Department]

The update stated investigators “have not had any significant sightings or leads in several days and we are going to a limited search capacity within local resources.” Searchers were planning to “walk creeks and waterways in the Bennet Valley area” on March 4.

Lawrence (aka “Larry) Atchison is 64-year-old and reportedly 6’0” weighing 200 pounds. His hair is grey, his eyes are brown, and he was last seen wearing a black Columbia jacket without a hood, dark blue jeans, and black slip-on shoes.

Law enforcement reported that due to his dementia, he “does not know how to navigate his way around the city and will not know how to return home.”

The Santa Rosa Police Department asks that if anyone has information about Atchison or sees him to call (707)528-5222 or 911. If he is sighted in Fort Bragg, call (707)964-0200 or 911

[Poster from the Santa Rosa Police Department]
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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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