Crime - Sacto 911

Investigation into death of Roseville businessman hinges on finding car

Efforts to determine how Roseville restaurateur Steve Pease died are “in a holding pattern,” according to a spokesman for the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department.

Pease’s body was recovered from the Pacific Ocean near Gualala on Nov. 23. The 57-year-old owner of Sammy’s Rockin’ Island Bar & Grill dropped out of contact with family and friends on Halloween and was last seen Nov. 3, when he checked out of a Fort Bragg motel and drove off in a rental car.

“The autopsy results will be pending until we find the car. That is a very crucial piece of the investigative puzzle,” said Captain Greg Van Patten, of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department. “The vehicle is going to tell us a lot.”

Van Patten said his department has requested a Coast Guard flyover in hopes of finding the silver Chevrolet Captiva SUV he was driving. To date that request has been unfulfilled, Van Patten said.

It would be most effective to search at low tide, which occurs early in the morning and near sunset, Van Patten said.

“Low tide is going to present as much terrain as possible,” he said.

Pease’s body had been in the water for several days when it was recovered.

Van Patten said his department does not encourage civilian pilots to search independently, but asks that anyone with information about the vehicle or who could otherwise help the investigation will come forward. The rental vehicle has Oregon plate No. 500GKN.