Two Bodies Found By a Community Search Team in Potrero

“Our World has gone cockeye…” Concerned neighbor.

June 29, 2016 (PORTER) Jim and Kyrie Keefe have been missing since the Border Fire, that started on June 19. The fire proper went though their property on the 20th, and scorched quite a bit of it. All that was left were the dogs, and their old van. The van could not move since a few days before the fire, the transmission failed. So jim was waiting on a friend to get the parts to fix it. With no way out, and a fast moving wild fire, the Keefe’s scampered up a hill behind their home, which was destroyed and had not been heard from every since. At least that is the ongoing theory since presumably their bodies were found up a ridge.

Neighbors and concerned citizens tried to get the authorities to do something about it. One of the neighbors told Reporting San Diego (she did not want us to use her name, and we respect her wishes) that a “missing person’s report was filed the day before yesterday,” She added, “there was still plenty of daylight left.” But the department still did not do a thing, as far as the concerned citizens believe.

Nancy Cressie has been feeding the numerous dogs on the property, and she said that “the gates were locked, and I asked San Diego Gas and Electric if they could cut it.” She wanted access so she could continue to feed the animals that were left behind. They agreed. While on the property she looked for the Keefe’s, with no success. A dash of guilt washed over her, as she wishes she had climbed the mountain.

Leann Mitsui was visibly angry after she, and Stephanie Rivenburgh, a Descanso native and business owner (Already There Handyman) charged up the mountain, before the officers could tell them they could not go up. They were among the women who initially found the two decomposing bodies. It took them 15 minutes, and they followed their noses. Presumably the two bodies are the remains of the Keefe’s, since a friend of theirs recognized the clothing. But the final determination will be made by the Medical Examiner. Moreover, the Metro Arson Strike Team needs to go over the destroyed house, and to where the bodies were found, before they can be removed by the coroner. They should be removed sometimes today.

Salmon later remarked that she is not a hiker. But she did this becuase it had to be done. She had been contacting the County, and Dianne Jacob’s office, and got nowhere. Like others, she felt she was ignored by the politicians and law enforcement.

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The two bodies were behind that promontory we were told

Where they were found matters. They were found behind a promontory on the rock, in a crevice, according to Mitsui, and she is thankful for that, face down, so she did not have to see their faces. It took her and Rivenburgh three times of looking back at what they were looking to digest it, and realize those were two dead bodies.

When Rivenburgh came down the mountain, she ran straight at the officers, screaming that “we found a body,’ and she was very angry. She also demanded from them, as well as others, why the department had not done a thing. Why is it that even now they still stood there. She came down with Julie Salmons was with them as well. She also unloaded on the emergency personnel who stood by, as the community volunteers did their job.

Matsui remarked that there had been buzzards flying around the last few days. Also that she was “very disappointed. They are two human beings.” They did not deserve to be left on the mountain like that.

Winnie Silvestro also remarked that one reason this happened, the lack of interest of care for poor rural people, is becuase the region, including Potrero, Campo and Morena Valley are poor. If this had happened in La Jolla, or the Keefe’s were doctors of layers, she is positive they would have done far more. In fact she is positive they would have launched a search. But these were “hippies leaving peacefully not bothering anyone.”

The Sherriffs explained that yesterday they did scamper up the mountain, but they did not find these bodies. and they would have rather be them who found them, and not these community members.

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Photo taken earlier in the day

Regardless, the community feels betrayed, and yes they do worry about the dogs. The dogs, speaking about them, kept going back and forth to where the bodies were found. Their fate is also a question at this point. One was in a crate, in 98 degree heat, with little water, waiting for Animal Control. By the time Reporting San Diego left the scene, that be 12:00, animal control had not retrieved the animal, though they had been there for a good half an hour.

Though the concerned neighbor we quoted above, did complete that thought about the world going cockeye, since there was in her mind, far more interest in taking care of the animals, than these missing humans. As a group they were also very angry that only after the bodies were found, did the Sherriffs Office start to do things like tape the scene as a crime scene.

This is the full Department’s statement. 

Remains Found – Border Fire

Subsequent to the Border Fire near the Mexican Border human remains were found in the 28000 block of Highway 94 in Potrero. The address was under mandatory evacuation when the Border Fire broke out on June 19th.

A deputy from the Campo Sheriff’s Substation was first notified about the couple possibly missing on Sunday, June 26th. The concerned citizen had no information on the address of the couple or their names.
The next day (June 27th) Red Cross provided a deputy with the couple’s address. The deputy immediately opened a missing person’s report and searched the property with CAL FIRE (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection) personnel. They searched five structures, two vehicles, a trailer and the grounds, but did not locate the missing couple. As part of a missing person investigation, deputies also searched local hospitals and jails for the couple. The couple was entered into a national missing persons database.

On Tuesday, June 28th, Sheriff’s Bomb/Arson along with CAL FIRE continued the search on the property. Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SAR) was scheduled to send a search dog, but it was diverted to Valley Center for a missing person at risk.

On Wednesday morning, June 29th Search and Rescue was planning to undertake a more comprehensive search and was meeting with deputies regarding the search area when local residents who launched their own search found the remains.

Identification of the remains, notification of the family, as well as cause and manner of death will be determined by the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Story modified to include the Sheriff’s statement 



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7 replies

  1. I’m glad you found them. There’s no other way of the story could have been told if you haven’t searched for them. Only the brave souls are the ones who finds the true meaning of their deaths. This will open up some pandora boxes in the middle of the new fire storm. I’m glad you found them. Bless your heart.

  2. It was the same people who were caring for the Animals who initiated the search, People who care about animals Are usually very caring about people too! So it was
    Not that There was only concern for the animals.

  3. It was the same people feeding the animals who initiated the search. peop[le who care for animals ,usually care about people too

  4. Heartbreaking … 🙁

  5. I try not to be angry about this, but I am. Already, it seems, the authorities are trying to back peddle out of their shameful disregard for this couple. There was a meeting scheduled for today with the officials who were so lax in their response. I sure wish I could be there. I’m sure the community is giving them an earful and not letting them put up sorry excuses or lies.

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