Family reunites with missing retired firefighter

Local News

The Latest on Merlin Turner (June 11 8:36 p.m.):

Merlin Turner was found Thursday and has been reunited with his family.

A family friend says that between the stress brought on by COVID-19 and his battle with post-traumatic stress disorder, Turner needed some respite.

According to the family friend, social media was instrumental in finding him. Someone reported seeing him in Knights Landing and another person saw him eating a burger at their diner.

The family friend says Turner didn’t even realize how many days had gone by or that he was on the news being reported as missing.

Turner was found wearing the same clothes as when he went missing four days prior.

Original story continues below:

EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) – A retired firefighter has been missing since Saturday and his family is asking the public to help find him and bring him home.

“I love you and I want to see you. Come home,” said daughter Chaz Green.

Sixty-one-year-old Merlin Turner was last seen Saturday night when he had dinner in Marysville with his best friend, John Havenhill.

“He came by about 7 and we visited, had dinner till about 8:45. We talked about some calls that were bugging him, this COVID situation,” Havenhill told FOX40. “Being cooped up in the house was getting to him. He needed to get out and work out and have some type of release. And since that wasn’t occurring, he was having issues.“

Havenhill said the issues included post-traumatic stress disorder from Turner’s years of service as a firefighter.

“There was an incident years ago where he pulled two firefighters from Contra Costa County out of a building and perished,” he told FOX40. “He didn’t know that when he went in and it’s haunted him ever since. And it’s one of the many calls that him and I talk about together. So, he just needed somebody to talk to, you know, who understood the situation.”

Havenill said everything seemed to be alright when Turner left his home, driving away in his silver Dodge Ram pickup. 

Green last spoke with her father on Friday and everything seemed fine.

“Super normal,” said Green. “Came by the salon on Friday, my first week back at work. Brought me lunch, texted me later that day and said ‘Hope you had a great day. I know times are hard.’ I typically talk to him multiple times a day.”

Green reported her dad missing Monday after piecing together that no one had talked to him since Saturday night.

Calls to her dad’s cell phone go directly to voicemail.

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office has assigned a detective to the case.

As FOX40 was speaking with Green and Havenhill in Marysville, Green received a text from the detective. It said that Merlin’s cell phone pinged a Tower in Folsom early Sunday morning.

The route Turner likely took through Marysville was down Highway 65 into Folsom.

Green immediately organized a search for her father, meeting dozens of volunteers in front of Folsom City Hall where they coordinated a search.

Once in Folsom, Green melted into her mother’s arms, as the stress of not knowing took its toll.

Friends and family checked various waterways in Folsom, places Turner was known to visit.

After hours of searching, there was no sighting of Turner or his pickup. 

“He treats me like his princess. Me and my daughters are everything to him. He stops by every day. Me and the girls are his life,” explained Green.

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s office told FOX40 they are asking the help of law enforcement in Folsom to be on the lookout for Turner and his pickup truck.

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