“Many counties rely on the expertise of California Department of Justice criminalists to process crime scenes and evidence. These professionals are a valuable tool in solving crimes and pursuing justice. California is fortunate to have them." – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
MENDOCINO COUNTY – On October 4, 2022, criminalists from the California Department of Justice were called upon to assist Mendocino County Sheriff's Office with processing a crime scene, which included exhuming human remains from a shallow grave at a residence on East Side Road in Potter Valley.
Background: On September 29, 2022, a Laytonville resident filed a missing person report with Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies regarding Aaron Vossler who had been traveling with a friend known only by a nickname. The pair left Laytonville on September 26th in a black Toyota Prius and were supposed to be traveling to a known address in Ukiah. Vossler did not return home and the reporting person contacted his friends in an attempt to locate him. The reporting person learned from one of Vossler's friends that he never arrived at the reported destination in Ukiah and Vossler had not made any recent social media posts which was unusual.
In the course of the investigation, deputies heard rumors that Vossler had possibly been the victim of foul play. On October 3rd, deputies contacted Christopher Franklin Hill who possibly had seen Vossler just prior to his disappearance. Hill was contacted at a family member's residence in the 8200 block of East Side Road in Potter Valley.
While at the home, detectives interviewed Hill and saw evidence of a possible violent crime in and about Hill's vehicle. A search warrant was obtained for the residence and Hill's vehicle. During the search warrant service on October 3rd, human remains were located in a shallow grave on the property.
Hill was arrested and booked into the Mendocino County Jail on the charge of murder.
The scene was maintained by Sheriff's Office personnel throughout the night until the morning of October 4th. Criminalists from the California Department of Justice assisted the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, Mendocino County Major Crimes Task Force and investigators from the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office in processing the crime scene and exhuming the human remains from the grave. The remains were identified as Vossler’s.