Investigators seek clues to solve 2012 Yreka Creek murder

Kelsey Shelton
Mount Shasta Herald

The Yreka Police Department continues to look for clues in the cold case murder of transient Christopher Schafer, 43, whose skeletal remains were found partially submerged in Yreka Creek on Nov. 23, 2012.

Christopher Schafer

Schafer was one of three people found dead in Yreka Creek over the course of about a year, causing speculation at the time that a serial killer was on the loose. 

Also found in the creek, about nine months later, was 62-year-old Henry S. Cooper, Jr. of Yreka. YPD eventually arrested Elias Samuel Bullington, then 25, on suspicion of murdering him.

Two weeks later, a dead white male in the same creek – but on the opposite side of town. His death was later determined to be the result of natural causes and this, coupled with the arrest of Bullington for Cooper's murder, debunked the serial killer theory.

Though two of the deaths have been explained, work continues to solve Schafer's murder, YPD said in a press release earlier this month.

Dave Gamache, who was a lieutenant at the time of the deaths and has since been named YPD's chief, said all three men were homeless and camped near Yreka Creek. According to online court documents, Schafer had faced minor charges in the nature of public intoxication, failure to vaccinate pets and marijuana possession.

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"With the third body at the south end of town being found we really were concerned that someone was killing homeless people in our area," Gamache said in 2013. "But with the third person having died from natural causes and not finding anything to link the other two, we're ruling that out at this time."

Those with information about Schafer's death should contact detective Kash Hasemeyer at the Yreka Police Department at (530) 842-2300.