Details of Disappearance Lippuner was last seen by his housemates in the Dows Prairie area of McKinleyville, California on October 16, 2018. He lived with his best friend and his best friend's wife in McKinleyville; he had a small apartment and a shop, and traveled back and forth between McKinleyville and Santa Cruz, California.
Although Lippuner left behind his work gear and his climbing and backpacking equipment, he disappeared with his white 1998 Ford Econoline E100 4x4 cargo van; photos of it is posted with this case summary. The van has a popup top, no side windows and the California license plate number 4ANN813. It's big enough to seat fifteen people, but has no seats other than the driver's seat.
His cellular phone pinged twice on October 17, the day after he was last seen: once in McKinleyville, and an hour later in Blue Lake, California. After that, all activity and signals for the phone stopped. He has never been heard from again. His family reported him missing on November 1, after becoming aware that no one had seen or heard from him in weeks.
Lippuner's van was found by a hunter in December 2018, two months after his disappearance; it was locked and abandoned in a remote, rugged area near the end of Old French Creek Road off Highway 299 outside Del Loma, California. A search of the area turned up no sign of Lippuner.
He enjoyed tree and rock climbing and had been climbing for his entire adult life, as well as fishing, camping, and backpacking. He did work as a mechanic and machinist to earn money. In the weeks prior to his disappearance, Lippuner had shown signs of depression: he was eating less and losing weight as a result, and he seemed less interested in his work projects.
He had told people that when he was ready to die he wanted to "disappear and melt into the earth". However, his family doesn't necessarily believe he took his own life and they fear foul play could have been involved in his case. His disappearance remains unsolved.
- Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated December 2, 2019; casefile added.