Mad River Union
ARCATA MARSH & WILDLIFE SANCTUARY – An autopsy conducted Wednesday didn't determine a cause of death for Felix Desautels-Poirier, a 25-year-old native of Sherbrooke, Quebec. The official cause will await pathology test results, according to Police Chief Tom Chapman.
Missing since Nov. 6, Desautels-Poirier's body was discovered Monday in Hauser Marsh by his father.
His mother, Claudine Desautels, her son and friends arrived at the Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary on Monday, Nov. 6 and camped near the boat launch. At about 11 p.m. that night, the friends decided to go to sleep, but Felix was outside sleeping on the ground and wouldn’t wake up to go in the tent. The friends put a blanket over him and went to sleep. When they awoke the next morning, Desautels-Poirier was gone.
Chapman said a drone search had been conducted of the marsh last Thursday, including the area where the body was found, but it eluded detection at the time. The area is extremely dense with vegetation, and at the time of the body's discovery, just a small portion of Desautels-Poirier's blue jacket was above the water level.
Claudine Desautels said her son was a cook, who traveled to British Columbia every summer to pick cherries. This was his first visit to California.
"He was a big reader," Claudine said, in both French and English. She described him a having a strong sense of curiosity, and enjoyed making those around him laugh. "He was a funny guy, really, really, really funny," she said.
Somewhat similar incidents
It’s the third time in recent years in Arcata that men have lost their lives under mysterious circumstances in water.
The body of Alliance Road resident Randy Markin was found in Janes Creek on Dec. 2, 2014. Markin, 55, had vanished from his Alliance Road apartment on Oct. 24 of that year.
No reason was ever determined for Markin winding up in the creek, located a short distance from his apartment.
On March 13, 2011, Arcata Police officers located a deceased male partially submerged in Janes Creek near the Arcata United Methodist Church on 11th Street.
He was later identified as Jeremiah Holland Jones, 22 of Eureka. Jones had been reported to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department as a missing person in mid-February of that year.
Jones had last been seen in Arcata on Feb. 12, driving recklessly. On seeing a patrol car in the area, Jones and another occupant abandoned the vehicle in the roadway and fled on foot. A search of the area was conducted, but Jones was not found. The other occupant was located nearby and arrested for public intoxication.
It is believed that after fleeing, Jones tried to hide in Janes Creek, where he drowned.