Could one man be responsible for both Sheila Franks’ and Danielle Bertolini’s deaths?
Sheila Franks’ was a divorced mother of two living between Rio Dell and….She was a sister, mother and daughter. Her disappearance shook her family to the core. Her older sister jokingly relays in Facebook posts that she could be such a pest when they were younger - always wanting to go where she was going, wanting to hang out with her and her friends and always in her stuff. The love between the two sisters is palpable.
Though not much is known about Shelia and her life, her sister says that Sheila was a “strong woman and not many people could have survived the life that [she] had to live. Not many people know your true story. You are a fighter and a survivor.”
The day she went missing
Not much is known about the day that Sheila went missing. Early in the morning of February 2, 2014, Sheila sent a text to her youngest son - something that she did quite often. Her family says that Sheila was in constant contact with both sons. James Jones, the man Sheila had been living with, says that Sheila went for a walk and never returned.
Sheila’s relationship with Jones appears to have been fraught with violence. Sheila’s sister told Lauth Investigations International that she saw signs of trouble in the relationship and that she was being beaten by Jones. “She was like, “Well, Jimmy and I got into a fight and he punched me, gave me a black eye,” added Walstrom.
Jones, a sawmill worker, has had arrests for drugs and domestic violence and has been named as a person of interest in Sheila’s and Danielle Bertolini’s case. He was the last person to be seen with each of them.
Not long after Sheila’s disappearance, Danielle Bertollini also went missing. She was last seen getting into a car with James Jones on February 9, 2014. As details from both cases emerged, it became clear that Danielle’s and Sheila’s cases were connected and the two families teamed up to locate them.
Sheila’s mother reports Sheila missing in March of 2013 after being to fear the worst. On Memorial Day weekend, 2014 scouring Humboldt County for their loved ones. The following year, the Police Chief formally acknowledges that the cases are believed to be connected and share the same person of interest.
In April 2015, Sheila’s case is linked by a missing persons advocacy agency to that of Danielle Bertolini, Jennifer Wilmer, Christine Walters and Karen Mitchell. They are dubbed “The Humboldt Five”. Advocates hope this moniker will increase public awareness of the cases.
Unfortunately, in June of 2019 a femur was found in the Eel Creek, downstream from where Danielle’s skull had been found earlier. The remains were identified as Sheila’s in September 2019.
Where the case stands today
Sheila’s case remains open despite having a person of interest identified. If you know anything about the disappearance of Sheila, please contact Fortuna Police Department at (707) 268-2539 or the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office at (707) 445-7251.