MENDOCINO Co., 11/02/19 — The last time anyone has reported seeing nurse Kayla Rodriquez or her neighbor, Justin Winfrey, the pair were enjoying a meal at the Gyppo Ale Mill restaurant in Shelter Cove on Thursday, October 24, and planned to head south in Winfrey’s plane towards the Brooktrails Airport — and eventually San Francisco. After their plane last appeared on the radar off the coast between Rockport and Wheeler shortly after 9 p.m. that evening, the two haven’t been seen or heard from since, despite a widespread ongoing effort from their friends, families, and volunteers along the North Coast.
The pair, with Winfrey piloting and Rodriquez as passenger in a red and white Piper Arrow small plane #N4958J, reportedly from 1968. The two had initially flown north from Novato, and reportedly said they were heading south after their Thursday evening meal, planning to eventually return to the Bay Area, where Winfrey is a businessman, and Rodriquez works as a labor and delivery nurse.
Over the last week, their loved ones and a large number of volunteers have raised nearly $25,000 so far to help locate them, and searched portions of the Mendocino and Humboldt coast by air and by foot with assistance from volunteer pilots, local companies, and residents — so far without sign of them. The volunteer search effort attracted broad community concern, and the group has charted two fixed wing aircraft and one helicopter to search the coast, as well as enlisted drones for aerial searches, and spread news of the search on television, on social media, and by flyering around the North Coast. Friends of Winfrey, who’d previously flown with him around Northern California, have shared stories on social media describing him as a careful and cautious pilot.
The San Francisco Police Department is leading the investigation; the most recent update provided by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) is included below. Their families ask anyone with information is asked by their families to contact San Francisco Police Sergeant Harrell at [email protected] or 415-242-3028. To send tips to the volunteer search effort, contact [email protected], and there is also information included below about how to volunteer for the community search effort — there is a particular need for assistance from pilots and fisherman. There is also a “Help Find K & J” Facebook page that has been established to provide updates and collect info, and a GoFundMe to raise money to assist with the search. You can read our previous coverage here.
Kayla Rodriguez, 27, FFacebook post by MCSO,
• 5’5”, 180 lbs
• Wearing Orange / Coral sweater, black leggings and carrying a white purse
Justin Winfrey, 43, M
• 5’11”, 205 lbs
• Wearing a hat, a blue Warriors shirt, and khaki cargo shorts
• Justin piloting, Kayla as passenger, flying a red and white Piper Arrow small plane #N4958J
• Took off from Gnoss Airport in Novato, CA at approx. 6:20pm heading to Shelter Cove, CA
• Both were last seen at the Gyppo Ale Mill restaurant in Shelter Cove, CA / next to the Shelter Cove airport at approx. 9pm on Thursday Oct. 24th
• Radar last signaled the plane between Rockport, CA and Wheeler, CA, approx. 5 miles west off the coast, the coordinates are: 39-51.757N, 123-59.628W
• Please contact us at the number below if you know anyone able to help with Search and Rescue efforts, or if you know of a certified Drone Pilot
• Call Larry Rodriguez (Kayla’s Father) – 805-453-5842
• Call Jasmine Jones-Herring (Justin’s Sister) – 415-994-2898
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE TWO PEOPLE?
They’ve been missing since Thursday 10/24/19. Last seen around 9:00 PM in the town of Shelter Cove. They left saying they were headed to the Brooktrails Airport near Willits. We are asking for anyone with information to contact San Francisco Police Sergeant Harrell at [email protected] or (415)242-3028.