Sunday marks one month since California men went missing in Yakima County

Sunday marks one month since family and friends last heard from two California men heading through Yakima County to a concert at the Gorge Amphitheatre.

In the days after longtime friends Josiah “Jo” Hilderbrand, 25, of Piercy and Jon Cleary, 48, of Huntington Beach disappeared en route to a Dead & Company show that opened June 7, speculation concerning their whereabouts has simmered and at times exploded on social media.

Even the band’s drummer, Mickey Hart, joined the discussion, posting on June 18 about the missing men along with photos of them.

“We’re sharing in hopes that someone out there knows something. Please share and spread the word if you can,” Hart wrote.

Monet Weir, daughter of Grateful Dead founder and Dead & Company member Bob Weir, shared a photo of a missing person flyer for Hilderbrand on Instagram.

Cleary and Hilderbrand were last seen June 7. The car they were traveling in — a light blue 2004 Honda Civic hybrid with California plates — was found abandoned June 8 in an orchard at 8100 Lateral B Road in Toppenish, said Casey Schilperoort, public information officer for the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office.

There is little new information in the case. The investigation by the sheriff’s office and the FBI continues as authorities try to document where the two men went, where they were last seen and other pertinent information.

Dead & Company includes three former members of the Grateful Dead. The show at the Gorge was set to begin at 7 p.m. and like their fellow Deadheads — as fans call themselves — Hilderbrand and Cleary would have wanted to be there for the first song.

Like its predecessor the Grateful Dead, Dead & Company has devoted fans who try to attend as many shows as possible. The band kicked off its Summer Tour 2019 on May 31-June 1 in Mountain View, Calif.

When Hilderbrand and Cleary went missing in Yakima County, they were on their way to the June 7-8 stop at the Gorge. The band has since performed in the Midwest and the East Coast before returning to the West for final shows at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colo., on Friday and Saturday.

Friends heard from them early on the morning of June 7 when Cleary texted that they were “north of the Bay,” and then early that afternoon.

Hilderbrand’s family is offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to his location. He is 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighs 165 pounds and has light brown wavy hair and blue eyes, notes a flyer being circulated by family and friends. He has a cartoonish wolf head tattoo on the left side of his neck and an Egyptian-looking cat on the right side, according to a post on the Yakima Scan Missing Persons page on Facebook.

There is a GoFundMe account created for Hilderbrand’s family by a friend. Family and friends are sharing a link to a missing person flyer that can be printed.

Cleary is 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighs 220 pounds and has brown eyes, brown hair and a goatee, a missing persons flyer notes. A separate reward is offered for information about Cleary, and friends recently created a GoFundMe account to raise money to cover his family’s expenses to travel to Washington and continue the search.

Those with information regarding the men’s whereabouts, what happened to them or events leading up to their disappearance are asked to call the sheriff’s office at 509-574-2500, reference case No. 19C09726, or Crime Stoppers Yakima County at 1-800-248-9980.

Reach Tammy Ayer at or on Facebook.