Since 2008 James Louis Denoyer has been considered a POI in the disappearances of two elderly men. Donald James Cavanaugh and David Virgil Neily went missing from Denoyer's 20 acre Westport CA ranch. Anderson Valley Advertiser, 11 November 2015,

To avoid cross-spamming (as has previously occurred):
details of the Cavanaugh case can be seen at;
the Neily case thread can be seen at heartily recommend you read over there before continuing over here, or you won't know what the heck is going on. Okay?

Okay, now that you are back:

After David Virgil Neily vanished, his son visited the Westport ranch. Denoyer's friend/employee RB told the son that Neily had left the ranch in his Thunderbird. A next day return visit by the son in RB's absence found the Thunderbird still on the ranch. A cadaver dog was brought in for an unsuccessful search. Anderson Valley Advertiser, 7 November 2015:

RB's lie makes him complicit in the disappearance(s). He has since deteriorated into a public drunk.
Anderson Valley Advertiser, 27 August2015:
AVA, 7 November 2015:
AVA, 16 June 2016:

Denoyer has since departed the Westport ranch at the end of Howard Creek Road. As he lived in Comptche CA before Westport, has several pieces of property and a construction firm, and several other addresses, it is difficult to say where he is at present. He had pasturage along the Branscomb Road west of Branscomb at the same time he had the Westport ranch. The Anderson Valley Advertiser reports he moved to a 288 acre property on Scotts Valley Road in Lake County CA. A 15 August 2016 retrieval from White Pages online says Denoyer currently lives in Newbury Park CA. Other residences named there expand possibilities to Moraga CA, Homewood CA, and Concord CA.;
AVA, 1 August 2007: Newbury Park does seem most likely if only because it's most recent.


As mentioned above, the Westport ranch was unsuccessfully checked by a cadaver dog. The natural questions then are, Could Cavanaugh and/or Neily been removed from the property rather than voluntarily leaving? And if so, how and to where?

As can be seen on Google Map's Earth View, Howard Creek Road is essentially the driveway to the Westport ranch.!3m1!1e3

With a few minutes drive on this remote dirt road, hypothetically an assailant could transport a victim to the intersection with the Shoreline Highway. There are two scenic overlooks a minute's drive from there—one to the south,,
the other to the north.,+Westport,+CA+95488/@39.6860573,-123.7927338,145m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x8081d4c61de72945:0x 7093935aa7b79fb6!2sHoward+Creek+Rd,+Westport,+CA+9 5488!3b1!8m2!3d39.67834!4d-123.780668!3m4!1s0x8081d4c61de72945:0x7093935aa7b79fb6!8m2!3d39.6 7834!4d-123.780668

Westport's population is only about 60 people in scattered residences. Cavanaugh and Neily both disappeared in Spring, before tourist season. If we surmise a raw Spring night with little traffic, what chance of being detected is there? Very little. Especially if the victim is still alive, the ultimate crime yet uncommitted.

A moment's necessary cold-bloodedness here, while we think like a killer. Just how difficult would it be to fling a small elderly frail man off the cliff into the ocean from an overlook, whether he was deceased or alive? How long would it take? Would it take so much as a minute? And several seconds later, the victim hits that relentless Pacific surf. A chilling scenario.


If it is assumed that Denoyer was responsible for the deaths of Cavanaugh and Neily, other questions arise. Denoyer was about 50 years of age at the time of the two disappearances. How many serial killers begin killing that late in life? I have never read of a one, and I read true crime extensively.

Criminologists have long pointed out the fact that felons “burn out” at about age 50. Also, serial murderers typically begin their vicious careers in their late teens or their 20s, and escalate through a gruesome learning process. Given these facts, there is no leap of logic needed to wonder if Denoyer was involved in homicides prior to the two disappearances.


Of course, RB could be questioned again. If he were caught in a serious jam--say a felony for which he faced prison--he just might trade information for leniency.

While the disappearances of James Donald Cavanaugh and David Virgil Neily seem to be “no body” cases, the same may not be true of any possible earlier homicides committed by Denoyer. However, this would take local LE's outreach to, and cooperation with, other jurisdiction(s). On the other hand, the other jurisdiction may save Mendocino County the expenses of jailing and trying Denoyer.

In Denoyer's absence, the residents of Westport may be willing to talk to investigators. Also, if marijuana growth is legalized in November, there will be less disincentive for the citizenry to talk to LE.

Both Donald James Cavanaugh and David Virgil Neily are still carried on the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office website as missing persons. Information concerning these active cases may be called in to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Tipline at 707-234-2100. Their Investigative Services Bureau may be emailed at The Sheriff's Office can also be reached at 951 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, CA 95482.