The famous Wild 94.9 radio show presenter Jeffrey Vandergrift, 55, who vanished last month, was certified d*ead on Thursday (23 March) by the San Francisco Medical Examiner. At around 5 p.m. on Wednesday, police and firefighters claimed to have removed human remains from the ocean close to Pier 39.
San Francisco police Sgt. Adam Lobsinger said in a statement (as reported by Yahoo)
“At this time, we have no evidence of foul play.”
Law enforcement did not certify that the dea†h was a suicide before turning the body over to the Medical Examiner for an investigation. Later, the radio station released a mournful statement to acknowledge his passing. The statement read (According to Deadline)
“With a heavy heart, we must confirm that the body found near Pier 39 Wednesday afternoon has been identified as our dear friend, family member and colleague, JV. We are devastated to know now that JV is gone. Please keep his wife, Natasha, his family and close friends in your thoughts and prayers. JV, we’ll miss you. You are forever a Bay Area icon.”
Vandergrift was born in Michigan and immigrated to Fremont at 4. His mother, Kay Vandergrift, recalled him as a timid, perceptive youngster who participated in Little League and competitive swimming, avoiding the spotlight but enjoying other people’s company.
Vandergrift attended Cal CSU East Bay in Hayward for accounting classes after graduating from American High School while working part-time as a security guard there. Kay Vandergrift said that the security gig made him re-think his accounting degree, recalling how her son watched office workers show up each day wearing (as reported by SF Chronicle)
“the same shoes, the same suit, the same tie.”
Instead, he chose to study radio at San Francisco’s Unilex College, trudged through internships, snagged on-air periods like Sunday at noon or 2 a.m., worked at Central Valley radio stations, and eventually found himself at Hot 97.7 in San Jose.
He and co-host Dan “Elvis” Lay won a highly sought-after morning show spot on Wild 107.7 in the middle of the 1990s, where they debuted “The Dog House,” which later moved — along with the rest of the station — to the 94.9 frequency spot.
JV Vandergrift was more recently well-known for hosting “The JV Show,” which aired on Wild 94.9 every weekday from 6 to 10 a.m. Kay Vandergrift said:
“The one thing you can say about JV is that he worked really, really hard.”
Remembering how her son enjoyed the glamour of being an on-air personality — he and other DJs visited MC Hammer’s mansion back when the rapper was at his peak — but how he also had the discipline to wake up early every morning and cultivate a career with real staying power.
According to Kay Vandergrift, JV Vandergrift visited several medical professionals over the past two years due to pain and weariness, and they all identified him as having depression. She claimed that he had previously received a Lyme disease diagnosis.
Although she accepted that the doctors had made an effort to assist, the boy’s mother claimed she didn’t think they completely understood her son’s mysterious disease. Kay Vandergrift said (as reported by SF Chronicle)
“If JV could give you a message right now, it would be to tell the world ‘I wasn’t depressed. He worked out, he had an active life, a joyful marriage. It was like something suddenly flipped.”
The unfortunate turn of events on Wednesday occurred a month after Vandergrift vanished on February 23 at around 10 p.m. in the Mission Bay neighborhood of San Francisco, close to his house on the 200 block of King Street near Third Street.
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Natasha Yi, Vandergrift’s wife, wrote on social media a week after he disappeared that she thought her husband would never return. The search turned up “personal information,” according to Yi, who is also a host at Wild 94.9, that suggested Vandergrift wouldn’t be coming back.
Yi wrote in the March 1 Instagram post:
“I tell you this with incredible pain and sadness in my heart.”
Kay Vandergrift claims she sobbed for hours after hearing Yi’s phone call on Wednesday night informing her that police had discovered her son’s body close to the pier. The medical examiner’s office representatives did not offer any new information on Thursday morning (23 March).
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