US

Massive Search Launched for Auto Writer Who Vanished During Test Drive

By Zachary Stieber

A huge search has been launched for an auto writer who vanished while test driving a motorcycle.

Davey Johnson, a writer for Car and Driver, was on a motorcycle trip in Northern California when he disappeared on June 5, his girlfriend, Jaclyn Trop, told CBS.

A team of 45 people, six dogs, two boats, and a helicopter are working to find him, the broadcaster reported.

While Johnson has been known to go on long trips, it’s not like him to be out of touch for so long.

“There’s just so many questions that we have,” Trop said.

She said that the last time he was in contact with someone was when he texted a friend after making it over the Sonora Pass in the Sierra Nevada mountains, saying he was at a rest stop.

“He texted a friend of his … to say that he was sitting in a creek at the rest stop, just enjoying himself,” Trop said.

Law enforcement officers discovered the motorcycle Johnson was test driving at a rest stop near the town of Mokelumne Hill in Calaveras County on June 8. On Sunday, they found his clothes, cellphone, and laptop near a river about 50 feet away.

View this post on Instagram

UPDATE 6: 8:55 PM PT, Sunday, June 9 Search and rescue will continue tomorrow. See comments below. UPDATE 5: please see comments. UPDATE 4: 2:14pm PT, Saturday, June 8. The Calaveras Sheriff has confirmed that they have found Davey’s clothes, laptop, and cellphone near the river. His wallet is missing. If anyone has any info on his cellphone carrier and/or banking/CC details please DM me or Abby Bassett. The Sheriff is looking to see if the cards have been used. Updates, as they are confirmed with primary sources, will be posted here, on FB and Abby’s Twitter account. Anyone with information or potential sightings should call the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department: (209) 754-6500 … UPDATE 2: 12:17 AM PT Saturday, June 8: THE POLICE HAVE FOUND THE BIKE — Parked outside rest stop on RT 49 near Mokelumne Hill. Davey’s backpack, computer and phone are not there, but the bike has been found. The Calaveras County Sheriff is planning a search and rescue starting Saturday morning to look for Davey. MISSING PERSON! Friends, this is a sobering post I have to make on behalf of all of @daveygjohnson’s friends and loved ones. Davey was last heard from at 2am PT Wednesday morning, and was planning to ride over Sonora Pass, on a black Honda CB1000R (not pictured here, obv) headed towards Sacramento. My worst imagined fear is that he somehow went off the road on Sonora Pass with no witnesses, and no sign of an accident. But it’s hard to say. The local authorities have been notified, but I’m asking you, the motorcycle and car communities, please spread the word, help us find Davey. Here is his basic info: 5’10” 200 lbs., salt and pepper hair. If you know anyone traveling or living in the area between Mammoth and Sacramento, please pass this info on to them. Thank you! ???? . . . . . #missingperson #missingrider #motorcyclist #rider #mammoth #sonorapass #sacramento #sierras #easternsierras #leevining #faleshotsprings #sonora #tuolumne #yosemite #stanislausnationalforest #monolake #pinecrest #sonorajunction #dardanelle #california #help #caltrans #chp

A post shared by Julia LaPalme (@julialapalme) on

“I just really hope he’s alive, because thinking about the alternative yesterday was . . . I don’t even have words for it,” Trop told Car and Driver. “I was completely gutted, and I would still feel that way if they hadn’t found the bike.”

She said that she was holding out hope that he is still alive.

“I just hope he’s figured out how to stay alive,” Trop said. “It’s been 72 hours since he was last heard from. I think people can survive that, even if he was lost by a river.”

According to Abigail Bassett, a former CNN producer who said she’s a friend of Johnson’s, the search for the missing biker was slated on Monday to widen, “focusing mainly on the river and the nearby highway (Rt 49).”

She also said on Sunday that police officers in Sacramento “are sending someone to Davey’s home in Sacramento to check and see if he is there and possibly force entry.”

It was not clear if anything was found at the house.