MENDOCINO Co., 10/14/23 — The remains of a missing Eureka woman were found Friday inside a vehicle driven by her son five days after he allegedly crashed it in a DUI, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. The victim has been identified as 53-year-old Christine Ann Randolph. The case is currently being investigated as a “suspicious death.”
Around 3 p.m. Sunday, October 8, sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers responded to a hit-and-run collision in the vicinity of Sherwood Road and Birch Terrace. One driver allegedly fled in a Toyota Sienna minivan, which was found nearby.
The driver, later identified as 26-year-old Root Harvest Birimisa, was arrested on suspicion of DUI after CHP officers found him walking on Birch Street. The minivan was towed and held as evidence.
Randolph was reported missing to the Eureka Police Department the following day. Investigators believed she’d been traveling with her son — Birimisa — so they got a warrant to search the minivan as part of the missing-person investigation.
Randolph’s body was found inside the vehicle, concealed under a large pile of clothing, luggage and other belongings. Her death remains under active investigation, and an autopsy has been scheduled for this weekend. Detectives are asking anyone with information related to this case to call the sheriff’s tip line at 707-234-2100.
Court records indicate Birimisa pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Wednesday to two felonies for driving under the influence and leaving the scene of a crash in Mendocino County Superior Court. Randolph was still considered missing at that time, but Judge Carly Dolan declined to release Birimisa from custody.
Booking logs from the Mendocino County Jail as well as a risk assessment conducted by the probation department confirm that Birimisa is also suspected of several unrelated sexual offenses.
It remains to be seen whether additional charges will be filed against him in connection with Randolph’s death.
Readers can find the original press release from MCSO below:
On 10-08-2023 at approximately 3:00 PM the California Highway Patrol was notified of a reported traffic collision in the area of Sherwood Road and Birch Terrace in Willits, California (Brooktrails Subdivision).
After the collision, the driver of one of the vehicles, a Toyota Sienna van fled the traffic collision scene.
The reported traffic collision prompted the response of CHP officers and Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies to assist as needed.
Upon arrival, CHP officers interviewed the one motorist at the traffic collision scene and also located the Toyota Sienna van unoccupied a distance away from the collision scene.
The motorist provided a physical description of the driver of the Toyota Sienna van which was subsequently given to the Sheriff’s Deputies who thereafter located the driver walking on Birch Street.
A CHP officer responded to Birch Street and contacted the driver in connection with the traffic collision investigation.
This resulted in the CHP officer placing the driver, Root Harvest Birimisa (26-year-old male from Eureka, CA), under arrest for DUI and hit and run resulting in property damage.
Birimisa was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail.
As a result of the arrest, the CHP officer had the Toyota Sienna van towed and stored by a Willits area towing company.
On 10-09-2023 the Eureka Police Department initiated a missing persons investigation into the reported disappearance of Christine Ann Randolph (53-year-old female from Eureka, CA).
During the investigation Officers and Detectives in Humboldt County began to follow up on several leads in an effort to locate Randolph.
A multijurisdictional response was launched by the Eureka Police Department with the assistance of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Fortuna Police Department, California Highway Patrol, California State Parks, Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators learned Randolph’s family had become concerned for her safety after learning of Birimisa’s 10-08-2023 arrest. Birmisa was identified as being Randolph’s son and that the pair were known to be traveling together.
On 10-11-2023 Mendocino County Sheriff’s Detectives assisted Investigators from the Eureka Police Department who had obtained a search warrant authorizing a search of the Toyota Sienna van in connection with the missing persons investigation.
The interior of the Toyota Sienna van was packed with a significant number of belongings to include clothing, luggage and living supplies.
Investigators began removing the belongings and subsequently located a deceased female adult who was located in a section of concaved flooring which was concealed by the large number of belongings.
The female adult was identified as being Randolph and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office assumed investigative lead into the circumstances of her death.
At this time there is an active coroner’s investigation in an attempt to determine the classification and cause of Randolph’s death.
A forensic autopsy has been scheduled for 10-14-2023 to include blood alcohol and toxicology analysis.
Anyone who might have information which could assist Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Detectives is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Office Tip-Line at 707-234-2100 or the WeTip anonymous crime reporting hotline at 800-782-7463.