What is also known is that Rodriguez, 29, never returned.
Rodriguez’s body was discovered at the end of November, his remains recovered from a rural gravesite following a tip from an anonymous source.
How and why Rodriguez perished remains a mystery, said officials.
On Nov. 30 at about 5 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a citizen who told deputies where to search for a possible grave. On Dec. 1 about 7 a.m., Humboldt County sheriff’s detectives went to the location near Jewitt Ranch Road, where they unearthed human remains.
Those remains were subsequently identified by the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office as those of Rodriguez.
“A forensic pathologist confirmed that Rodriguez is the victim of a homicide,” according to the Coroner’s Office.
Once an Ocean Beach resident, Rodriguez was reported missing
April 25 by his father, who had contacted the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.
“His father told the investigating deputy that Garret told him he was coming to Humboldt County to work on a ranch growing medical marijuana in an area near the so-called “Murder Mountain,” Humboldt authorities said.
“It’s an illegal, underground industry,” said Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Lt. Steve Knight, who added two detectives and the FBI are continuing an investigation into Rodriguez’s murder. “Sometimes people who come up here to work in [the marijuana-harvesting industry] just go missing. In this case, there are remains and a family that’s made inquiries, which is enough to begin an investigation.”
“People come up here to make a fast buck — sometimes they never leave,” said Knight.
Knight said “Murder Mountain” is not a formal geographical designation, but rather a nickname given to the rural area by “outsiders,” indicating its remoteness in an area known to be frequented by marijuana traders who sometimes wind up missing or worse.
“There are no [such things as] legal marijuana farms,” said Knight.
The family of Garret Rodriguez retained Cook & Associates, a private investigator in Humboldt County, in May to search for their missing son.
“Our goal from the beginning has been to provide answers to the family as to the events surrounding Garret’s disappearance,” said the investigation firm in a prepared statement.
Excerpts from statements made by Cook & Associates to the Lost Coast Outpost, an online publication founded in 1996 in rural Ferndale, about the Rodriguez investigation are as follows:
“On the day after Thanksgiving, private investigators received calls from anonymous sources that an individual had confessed to the murder of Garret Rodriguez … The sources advised that the body would be [discovered] off of Jewitt Ranch Road, a general location that had been reported by other confidential sources as early as June 2013 … The physical size of the property in question made it difficult to search the area without specific directions from someone who knew the spot … It was not until Nov. 30 that the Sheriff’s Office received a more specific location to search that the body was discovered.”
Anyone with information related to Rodriguez’s disappearance and murder is urged to contact Chris Cook at Cook & Associates Private Investigations at (707) 839-7422, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rodriguez family members could not be reached for comment.
Cook & Associates declined further comment on the case, noting it was a private investigation.