Missing Big Bear restaurant owner found dead

Missing Big Bear restaurant owner found dead


Heather Smith reported on Thursday that her 54-year-old husband, Eric Smith, who had been missing since June 27, was found deceased in the forest of Big Bear. The couple owned and operated The Grind & Grill Cafe in Big Bear.

Restaurant owner Eric Smith, 54, who had been missing for nearly two weeks, was found dead in Big Bear.

“We received the news we were dreading,” said Smith’s wife, Heather. “The Sheriff’s Department informed us they found Eric in the woods.”

Deputies at 12:53 pm on Wednesday, July 6, were sent to a forest area in Big Bear. Upon arrival, they found Smith and confirmed his death at 1:05 pm, sheriff’s officials said.

Smith, who owned The Grind & Grill Cafe in Big Bear with his wife, was first reported missing on the night of his disappearance.

Sheriff’s officials offered no further details on Smith’s death or how they located him, but his wife on Thursday said they found his body near Highway 38 and Hatchery Drive.

Smith’s body was located less than 4 miles south of his home near the 400 block of Wagon Wheel Way, where he walked away on the morning of June 27.

“They found him lying on the ground amid trees. He was using his Trader Joe’s bag as a pillow,” Smith said. “The coroner said he looked peaceful. Like he had lain down and fallen asleep there.”

According to Smith, there was no sign of trauma to her husband’s body, and the cause of his death is unknown.

“We truly appreciate all of the support given us over the last week,” Smith said. “Our family is devastated and grieving. But we have lots of family members to help. And there have been so many kind and generous people stepping in to help wherever needed.”

Heather Smith reported on Thursday that her 54-year-old husband, Eric Smith, who had been missing since June 27, was found deceased in the forest of Big Bear.  The couple owned and operated The Grind &  Grill Cafe in Big Bear.

Heather Smith reported on Thursday that her 54-year-old husband, Eric Smith, who had been missing since June 27, was found deceased in the forest of Big Bear. The couple owned and operated The Grind & Grill Cafe in Big Bear.

The disappearance

Smith was reported missing by his family on the night of his disappearance, according to sheriff’s officials, who added that Smith was considered a “critical missing person” as he had recently displayed cognitive difficulties.

Before his disappearance, Smith was last seen wearing prescription glasses, a blue/gray T-shirt, a baseball cap, blue jeans, and black tennis shoes.

Smith’s wife and staff said he was last seen walking downhill or south on Highway 38. He was carrying a black and red Trader Joe’s bag. He left without his phone, keys, or wallet.

On July 4, Heather Smith and the cafe staff took to Facebook to say that after Smith was reported missing, his family hoped that he just wanted to get away for a couple of days with no cellular and other distractions.

In previous weeks, Smith had talked about needing to escape and unplug. But when he did not show up for work on Wednesday, which is out of character for him, his family sought more help, the Facebook post said.

After Smith’s disappearance, there had been searches, distribution of flyers, and lots of activity on Facebook to get the word out that he was missing, his wife and cafe staff said.

Anyone with any information regarding the incident is asked by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department to contact Deputy J. Kozyr or Detective A. Montbriand at 909-866-0100 or by email at amontbriand@sbcsd.org

Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz can be reached at 760-951-6227 or RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz

This article originally appeared on Victorville Daily Press: Missing Big Bear man and business owner Eric Smith found dead



Source link