A weeks-long search for missing Geyserville resident Michele Paul, an 81-year-old woman with “cognitive issues,” ended tragically Monday afternoon when she was found dead in Boonville, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. Her car was found nearby, “several miles down a dirt road on a large rural property,” a sheriff’s press release said.
Deputies found Paul after responding to “a call for service regarding a suspicious vehicle” on Mountain View Road, with help from a search-and-rescue team, the press release said. “No obvious indicators of foul play were discovered.”
The Healdsburg Police Department and California Highway Patrol originally issued a Silver Alert for Paul last Tuesday, Nov. 28, after loved ones reported her missing on Nov. 27, Police Chief Matt Jenkins said. By the next day, local police had handed off the case to the sheriff.
Sonoma County residents had reported a few sightings of Paul in the weeks since she was last seen at her Geyserville home on Nov. 14. First, an employee at a Healdsburg business said they spotted Paul come into the store a few times.
Soon after, on the afternoon of Nov. 25, someone in the lower Russian River area thought they saw her “wearing sweats and driving a black 2019 Volkswagen Jetta” westbound on Highway 116, according to the sheriff’s office. And that same day, others claimed on social media that they saw her Jetta driving erratically along the coast.
In Facebook posts and comments, Healdsburg neighbors remembered Paul as a former mainstay of the Parkpoint Health Club in town and a regular at the Shelton’s health-food market, calling her a “wonderful woman” and “lovely lady” who had been having some mental issues later in life.