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Search For Missing Auto Journalist Davey Johnson Called Off

motor1 logo motor1 6/17/2019 Brandon Turkus
a person wearing a helmet and sunglasses sitting on a motorcycle: Davey Johnson © Davey Johnson

Authorities are treating Johnson’s disappearance as an accidental drowning.

Authorities have called off the search for automotive journalist Davey G. Johnson. The 43-year-old contributor to Car and Driver, Jalopnik, and Motorcyclist went missing on an overnight motorcycle ride from Mammoth, California to his home in Sacramento.


According to former contributor Abigail Bassett, the unofficial liaison between Johnson's hundreds of friends and family and the authorities, his disappearance is being treated as an accidental drowning. Bassett said in the last update to a Facebook thread that has been shared over 1,000 times that “detectives believe that Davey went into the river of his own accord, and there is no evidence of foul play.”

Johnson has been missing since June 5. His last contact was a selfie sent to a friend on the shore of the Mokelumne River. A widely respected writer with an encyclopedic knowledge of cars, motorcycles, and music, Johnson was testing a Honda CB1000R for Motorcyclist when he stopped for a breather.

Authorities have spent the last 10 days conducting an exhaustive search, combing the woods around the Mokelumne River and the waters it feeds into with boats, jet skis, helicopters, dogs, and on foot, covering nearly 450 miles of terrain. As we reported in the early days of Johnson’s disappearance, the motorcycle he was testing, his helmet, and gloves were found at a rest area, while his laptop, camera, phone, and clothes were found by the riverside.

The disappearance of such a widely beloved member of this tight-knit community has left it reeling. Tributes and pleas for Davey to come home have been published across the automotive blogosphere during the search, with Motorcyclist’s Chris Cantle and Car and Driver’s John Pearley Huffman writing two of the most poignant. We encourage you to read them.

Our tribute to Johnson’s daring, ambition, charm, eccentricity, and character, though, will be a simple one: We miss you, Davey. The world, and this community you contributed so much to, is worse off without you. would like to thank the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department and the over 100 men and women that took part in the search for Johnson.


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