On 11-17-2011, approximately 4:00 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a missing person in the McKinleyville area. The mother of the missing person reported to the Sheriff’s office her 31 year old son, Jason Balke, from McKinleyville had gone mushroom picking on Green Diamond property off Park Street, McKinleyville. The mother said her son left to pick mushrooms around 10:00 am this morning and was supposed to return in a few hours. She told deputies’ her son was very familiar with the area and when he failed to return she became concerned for his welfare. She and other family members entered the woods to look for him. While in the woods they ran into another citizen who said he thought he heard someone yelling “mom” from deep inside the woods.
The Sheriffs Office initiated a Search and Rescue for Balke. At approximately 3:00 a.m. on 11-18-2011 they were able to locate two victims; they located Jason Balke and his brother Brian Balke, 33 years also of McKinleyville. They had been picking mushrooms together when they became lost. Their mother had no idea Brian was with Jason at the time.
Brian and Jason were treated and examined by Arcata Ambulance personnel on scene for mild hypothermia and given a courtesy transport home.
Mike Downey Sheriff