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Automotive Writer Vanishes While On Assignment Test-Driving A Motorcycle, Mysteriously Leaving Belongings Near River

Automotive journalist Davey G. Johnson hasn’t been heard from since Wednesday, when he texted a friend that he was sitting near a creek.

By Jill Sederstrom
David Gordon Johnson

Authorities are searching for a missing automotive journalist who disappeared Wednesday while on an assignment for Motorcyclist magazine.

Davey G. Johnson, who is also a frequent contributor to Car and Driver, was last heard from Wednesday morning when he texted a friend around 8:30 a.m. to say that he was on his way home from test driving a motorcycle for the magazine, but had stopped and was sitting near a creek relaxing, Car and Driver reports.

Johnson’s girlfriend Jaclyn Trop told CBS News that she had last heard from Johnson around 5 a.m. the same morning when he texted her to apologize for not reaching out for several hours and said he had been going through difficult driving conditions.

"I'm so sorry I worried you," he texted, according to Car and Driver. "Yes, I'm okay and alive, but I am wiped. I love you very much."

Johnson had driven the Honda CB1000R he had been testing through the Sonora Pass Tuesday, an area known to sometimes have steep and icy roads.

Johnson made it through the pass by early Wednesday, Trop said, but hasn’t been seen since he stopped at a rest area.

The California Highway Patrol found the motorcycle he had been riding Saturday parked at a rest stop near Mokelumne Hill along California Route 49. His helmet and gloves were also found with the bike.

Authorities discovered his phone, laptop and backpack nearby sitting close to a river the following day, but Johnson was nowhere to be found.

“I just really hope he’s alive, because thinking about the alternative yesterday was … I don’t even have words for it,” Trop told Car and Driver. “I was completely gutted, and I would still feel that way if they hadn’t found the bike.”

The pair had been together the weekend before he went missing, when they drove the motorcycle around Los Angeles.

Trop flew to Florida on Sunday but said Johnson took the bike to Las Vegas before heading to through the Sonora Pass.

Trop said it is out of character for Johnson to be out of contact for so long.

“There are just so many questions that we have,” she said.

Authorities have now launched a massive search effort to try to find the missing writer. The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that the Calaveras County Search and Rescue has been activated and that other organizations, including the California Highway Patrol H20, Amador County Search and Rescue and Calaveras County Marine Safety Division, are also aiding in the search effort.

“I just hope he's figured out how to stay alive," Trop said. "It's been 72 hours since he was last heard from. I think people can survive that, even if he was lost by a river."

Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact authorities.