The Mad River Levee trail was surprisingly calm. A gentle breeze rustled the leaves and a friendly elderly woman was walking her dog. It was a jarring sight given this was the scene of a violent murder only a week ago. A month before that, another man was murdered in an especially brutal fashion another mile away.
On September 11, 2021, the first body was found. He had been stabbed multiple times and received blunt force trauma. His name was Eugene Steven Segal and he was found on a trail off of Hatchery Road near Mad River.
On October 10, 2021, the body of Levi Harold Hernandez was found on a trail near the Mad River Levee and Taylor Way. His death was ruled a homicide, but the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) has yet to confirm how he was murdered. Both Hermandez and Segal were known to be living a transient lifestyle.
The HCSO released a press statement addressing the murders and why they can’t release all the information regarding the deaths to the public.
“Autopsies have been completed for both victims, however, cause of death information is being withheld pending the ongoing investigation,” said the HCSO.
The two murders happened to people with similar status in very close locations. However, the Sheriff’s department has yet to officially link the two murders. It is possible that they are unrelated.
“Despite the close proximity of these cases in location and date of discovery, investigators have not officially determined a connection between the two incidents at this time,” said the HCSO.
There are still people camped out on Mad River despite the recent attacks. Talking with a resident couple, it became clear that this situation did not surprise or startle them.
Dorothy and Mike are a middle-aged couple with a camp set up by Mad River. Neither one of them had heard of the murders despite the fact that they are camping so close to the scenes of the crimes.
“I’m not worried at all, not with her around,” Mike said referring to his german shepherd napping by his side.
“If someone comes around I’ll hit him in the head with something big, I have things to protect myself you know,” said Dorothy.
The HCSO has multiple tips on how to enjoy the river trail while continuing to stay safe, such as staying on defined trails, informing a friend of your location before going out on the trails, and keeping one’s phone out of view.
The problem with these tips is that they are not for the people who are being targeted. While the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office tells the public to take self-defense classes and avoid listening to music too loud, people with no option but to camp out on the river bank are left in the dark. It is concerning and disheartening that the people living on the river have not been sufficiently warned. The investigation into these two brutal murders remains ongoing.
Anyone with information regarding the alleged murders are urged to contact the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Division at (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip Line at (707) 268-2539