Editor’s note 6/26/23: This story has been updated; we deeply regret any added pain and suffering that we’ve caused by our reporting on the tragic death of Quinn Greene and his relationships with friends and family. Please accept our apologies.
MENDOCINO, 6/23/23 — The body of Quinn Greene, 38, who plummeted from a cliff above Big River in Mendocino on June 10, was found Thursday afternoon. Mere hours later, friends and family came to the bluff to pay tribute to a man beloved by many.
Greene’s body was found no more than a few hundred yards from where a tourist witnessed him tumble from the bluffs around sunset 12 days before. His mother, Sheila Dawn, identified the body on Thursday, something she said she had dreaded doing. At the gathering on the bluff of friends and family, she said that she felt relieved by the closure the experience provided. She believes Greene was buried under the sand below the cliff the entire time an air, boat and land search was conducted, involving a fixed wing Coast Guard aircraft from Eureka, a helicopter and the Mendocino Fire Department’s boat crew. Friends and family members gathered near the spot he fell through much of the late afternoon and evening on Thursday. A wreath and small memorial lies just uphill from the cliff edge where he went over. Putting the impromptu memorial closer to the edge would have created risks to others.
Greene was born early in the morning on June 7 in Fort Bragg, 38 years and three days before. “He came in at dawn and went out at sunset,” Sheila Dawn said, motioning out to the magnificent Pacific.
The magic of the clifftop where he spent his last seconds comforted family and friends. A large group of pelicans, Canada geese, seagulls and other birds gathered in a line on Big River Beach just below. A group of surfers rode waves, one traveling at breakneck speed on a surfboard below. As the family was leaving the bluff area, most of the pelicans took off from the beach, circled the bluffs as if in a salute before they resettled on the beach.
Greene’s brother Jack said the recovery of his brother’s body had provided the family tremendous relief.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department had identified Greene as the victim of the apparently fatal fall after notifying the family. They were able to do this because of the clear description provided by the witness, but some publicly questioned how authorities could release the name without the body.
On Thursday, the recovery operation went quickly, and family members were notified right away. It was less than four hours since his body had been recovered when they gathered on the blufftops, but the first responders had come and gone so quickly that nobody was sure just where the body had been found. Authorities had said it was in the Portuguese Beach area. Big River Beach, where Greene fell, gives way to Portuguese Beach to the northwest. One can walk between the two during low tide.
A memorial service and afternoon and evening celebration for Quinn Greene is planned in mid-July at Preston Hall. A drum circle was held last weekend.