Remains of Ocean Beach native Garret Rodriguez found on 'Murder Mountain' in Humboldt County

Rodriguez took job in Northern Calif. last year

SAN DIEGO - Human remains discovered in a makeshift grave in Northern California two weeks ago are those of an Ocean Beach man believed to have been murdered, authorities reported Tuesday.

The body of Garret Rodriguez, 29, was found Dec. 1 off Jewett Ranch Road in Harris, Humboldt County sheriff's Lt. Steve Knight said.

Rodriguez's father reported him missing April 25, telling investigators his son had fallen out of contact after leaving for Alderpoint to work on a medical-marijuana ranch in an area known as "Murder Mountain," the lieutenant said.

Rodriguez's truck was found in a remote area in May.

Rodriguez, an avid surfer and fisherman, moved to Northern California last December, friends told 10News. He took the job in hopes of earning money and eventually buying a home with his father in Mexico.

The locale got its nickname due to a history of homicides there, according to the Humboldt Sentinel.

An examination by a forensic pathologist determined that Rodriguez was murdered, according to Knight, who did not disclose the cause of death.

Remmi Leblanc, Rodriguez's best friend, said, "That last day he left my house, I just wish I would have held onto him a little longer."

10News reporter Michael Chen asked, "Did he know of the dangers of the job?"

"Yes, everyone knew of the dangers, but I think he trusted everyone he was with. His trusting nature was one of his best characteristics and one of his biggest faults," said Leblanc.

After Rodriguez arrived in Humboldt County, he called Leblanc. In mid-January, he reportedly phoned another friend and complained of spotty cell service.

In late November, deputies said a phone tip led to a rural, roadside grave and a body.

Detectives are revealing little about their case but did say the marijuana farm industry, which includes some cartel-funded farms, is often accompanied by violence.

"We've had a couple recent home invasions, where armed people have kicked down the door, held them down at gunpoint, tied people up and took their marijuana," said Knight.

"Although this gives us closure, we want justice," said Leblanc.

A private investigator hired by the family said the person who led deputies to the body has confessed to the murder.

There is also speculation Rodriguez's death may be connected to the recent kidnapping and shooting of a landowner by eight men.

Deputies wouldn't comment on either theory.

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