A suspicious death investigation has been launched by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) after the body of 53-year-old Christine Ann Randolph was discovered in a towed van. The van belonged to 26-year-old Root Harvest Birimisa, who had been taken into custody in Mendocino County following a traffic stop.
The van, a Toyota Sienna reportedly shared by Birimisa and Randolph, was towed to a business in Willits on October 8, after Birimisa’s arrest by the Ukiah California Highway Patrol. Three days later, MCSO detectives and officers from the Eureka Police Department searched the van and found Randolph’s body concealed beneath a large number of belongings.
Randolph’s family had become concerned for her safety after learning of Birimisa’s arrest, as the pair were known to be traveling together. The MCSO is treating Randolph’s death as suspicious pending official autopsy findings. An autopsy was performed on Friday, and the results are awaiting a toxicology report, which could take four to six weeks.
Birimisa had been released from the Humboldt County Correctional Facility just one day before his arrest in Mendocino County. He had been held in Humboldt County on charges of committing a lewd act upon a child, assault involving an eight-year-old victim, and burglary. His next court date in Mendocino County is scheduled for October 19.
The MCSO has requested anyone with information regarding this case to contact their tip line at 707-234-2100 or the WeTip anonymous crime reporting hotline at 800-782-7463.