WILLITS, 10/15/20 — The remains of James Andrew Whetstone, 69 of Willits, who had been missing since Oct. 9, were discovered yesterday in a fresh grave at his property; his son, James Presley Whetstone, 29 of Willits, who also resides at the property, was arrested and charged in the killing of his father. The younger Whetstone, who has long suffered from very severe mental health problems, is being held in Mendocino County Jail on a charge of murder.
The senior Whetstone was reported missing on the morning of October 9, having last been seen at his family’s home on Valley Road outside of Willits (see previous reporting here). After multiple days of investigation by Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office investigators, officials returned to the property and questioned his son.
According to Sheriff Matt Kendall, after deputies returned to the family home and spoke to family, the younger Whetstone asked to speak with deputies alone, without his mother. At that point, according to Kendall, “He basically said that he had killed his father and buried him in the backyard.”
The alleged killer, James Presley Whetstone, has a history of hearing voices and other hallucinations, and delusions. There has been no word as to a weapon, or the manner of Whetstone’s death. A bail amount for the younger Whetstone has not been announced.
This is the second recent homicide involving close family in the last few weeks. In late Sept. Jamie Eugene Wilcox was shot and killed near Ukiah, a crime for which his step father was arrested and charged.
Here is the press release from the MCSO:
Here’s the full press release from MCSO:
DATE: “October 14, 2020”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Suspicious Death – Missing Person Recovery
187 PC (Murder)
1500 block of Valley Road in Willits, CA
Date of Incident:
James Andrew Whetstone (69 year-old male from Willits, CA)
James Presley Whetstone (29 year-old male from Willits, CA)
Captain Gregory L. Van Patten #1184
UPDATED PRESS RELEASE:
On 10-14-2020 the investigation into the disappearance of James Andrew Whetstone continued with investigators revisiting the family property located in the 1500 block of Valley Road in Willits, California.
While on the property, investigators developed information that led them to the discovery of a fresh grave that had been concealed with debris.
A search warrant was granted for an in-depth search of the property, prompting a further search by Sheriff’s Detectives with the assistance of investigators with the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office.
During this time, Sheriff’s Detectives excavated the area of the fresh grave and recovered the remains of James Andrew Whetstone.
Sheriff’s Detectives were able to link James Presley Whetstone to James Andrew Whetstone’s death and arrested him based upon probable cause.
James Presley Whetstone was identified as being James Andrew Whetstone’s biological son and the pair lived together on the family property.
James Presley Whetstone was to be booked into the Mendocino County Jail on a charge of 187 PC (Murder) to be held in lieu of an undetermined amount of bail at the time of this press release.
A forensic autopsy of James Andrew Whetstone’s body is pending at this time.
Sheriff’s Detectives are continuing investigations into the incident.
MCSO ORIGINAL FACEBOOK POST:
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office is actively investigating the reported disappearance of James Andrew Whetstone (see attached photograph).
He was last seen on 10-09-20 @ 8:30 AM at the family residence located in the 1500 block of Valley Road in Willits, California.
He is believed to have either walked away or received a ride from someone in a vehicle, although that is not his usual behavior.
He is described as a 69 year-old male, standing 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighing 250 pounds. He has blue eyes and shoulder length gray hair that he usually wears in a ponytail.
He was last seen wearing a gray jacket, blue jeans and black boots. He is reportedly in good physical health for his age.
Anyone with information about James Andrew Whetstone’s current whereabouts is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Office by calling 707-463-4086.
Captain Gregory L. Van Patten #1184