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COUNTY: Sonoma County
LOCATION DETAILS: East/West Highway. Very remote, hills, wooded ravines with creeks and stream bottoms.
NEAREST TOWN: North of Cloverdale, California
NEAREST ROAD: Hwy 128 (Oat Valley Rd)
OBSERVED: I am a law enforcement officer. I have no reason to lie about what I saw and frankly I don't care if anyone believes me. I have heard of these kind of things here and there but never paid close attention to it or laughed it off. It's not that I didn't believe, I'd just believe it when I saw it.
It was a very warm, almost hot evening just after or before labor day in 2007. It was dark, around 8:30 or 9:00 PM but the sky was still a little lit up in the West that time of year. I was on patrol, driving W/B on Hwy 128 out of Cloverdale going to an alarm call out at some ranch property. Those calls are very common.
As a law enforcement officer, you notice things out of place. A car here that wasn't parked there yesterday, a person walking along the road in a desolate area, lights on in a closed business....things like that. Things just catch your eye that other people don't notice. Like I said, I was driving W/B and saw someone coming up out of the ravine onto the roadside. I can't describe it...I just saw the movement in the brush and knew it was someone. People run from us all the time and I thought I may have surprised someone who might be growing marijuana in the woods or something like that. It happens a lot here. I saw the outline of a body, the reflection of my headlights in it's eyes and it ducked back into the scrub brush before I passed it.
Thinking it was someone trying to avoid or hide from me, I hit the brakes and backed up quickly. That's when I saw it in my headlight beams. It was about 6-7 ft tall, thick matted brown fur and walking upright. I did not see the face, it was walking away from me but slowly. Like everyone else says, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was definitely something I was not gonna put out on the radio. There were a lot of branches and overgrowth in the way, but there was no mistake on what I saw.
I specifically remember two things. One was that it had small leaves and grass matted into its fur all over its back. I saw that as it walked away from me. I remember that vividly. Second, I remember that it used slow, deliberate movements. It walked away and used its arm to swipe small limbs and twigs out of its way. I saw it from the backside for a good 4-5 seconds before it disappeared into the overgrowth again. I then got out of my car and stood there for about 2-3 minutes with the engine off. I could hear the same slow movements and crunching of leaves and sticks for a while. I could hear it down there making its way into the creek area. Everytime I stopped hearing it and would start to walk back to my car, I'd hear a "Crunch" in the distance and I'd listen a bit longer.
There is a creek down in that ravine which is probably where it went back to.
Needless to say, I told no one. This wasn't something to bring up in briefing or to put in the patrol blotter. That would make for an extremely long and uncomfortable career for anyone.
A friend of mine from back East told me about this website. I didn't know who else to contact. I almost contacted one of our Fish & Game Officers up here but he knew too many of my friends, so I just kept it quiet. I read a lot of other postings on here and it's nice to know I'm not alone. I've never seen a ghost, UFO or anything like that, but this really makes me wonder now what else is out there that we laugh off from time to time.
OTHER WITNESSES: Alone, working.
OTHER STORIES: I have heard of some sightings in my county but have heard of a lot more just to the North of us in Mendocino County. This was actually about a mile or two from the Mendocino County line coincidentally.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Night time, just after sunset. Western sky was still a little orange but it was dark for the most part.
ENVIRONMENT: Creek bottom, ravines, canyons and hill country. Lots of vegetation and very few houses or farms. The area is massive and there is nothing but Mountains and woods until you reach Oregon. Sporadic farms and ranches here and there, but it's a remote part of the state.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Brandon Kiel:
I spoke with the witness for close to an hour and later visited the area. I found him to be a very detailed and forthright individual and have no trouble believing his encounter. On the night of the encounter he was responding to alarm call around 8-9pm. The area of the sighting is roughly 4 miles outside of Cloverdale. He states that it's rare to see people in this general area walking around at night and he thought it might be a pot grower.
As he was heading west he saw movement on his left and the reflection of two amber or yellowish colored eyes. He immediately backed up quickly and again saw movement now 30-40 yards into the brush illuminated in his headlights. He could make out the side view of the upper body of the animal and the back of its head, but nothing of its lower body and no face.
He observed a very big arm pushing branches out of its way. He describes the fur as "a little like Chewbacca", with leaves matted into fur, The animal lumbered off, unhurried. He could hear it's retreat for a few minutes.
This is an example of the local terrain; mainly black oak, manzanita, and madrone.
This is the location of the sighting.
Comment by Matt Moneymaker
We know there are more observations like this. It is nice to see law enforcement officers deciding they can be open about these observations.
About BFRO Investigator Brandon Kiel:
Brandon Kiel is a professional photographer and naturalist living in the Bay Area.
He was the chief coordinator of Northern California Expeditions for 7 years and has planned/attended more than 20 expeditions throughout the US.