.Guerneville Blues Musician Still Missing

Waiting along the shore during Sunday’s big Russian River rescue, terrified for her own reasons, was the girlfriend of Sky Daniel O’Banion, the Guerneville blues musician who disappeared without a trace exactly five weeks prior. Sky has deep roots in the Lower Russian River area, and his disappearance has caused a real stir in the community. His girlfriend, Nicole, says she heard someone was in the river that day, and thought it might be Sky. Indeed — his loved ones say they’ve gotten false lead after false lead since they first started posting “MISSING” fliers online and around town in late January. Still, they’re trying not to lose hope. Nicole says she’ll be hanging more fliers around Santa Rosa this Sunday, and is trying to organize a “search party along the embankments of the river.” If you’d like to volunteer for that — or have any other information about Sky — you can call her at (707) 494-6734. Along with Sky’s four siblings and two teen daughters, she’s also raising money via GoFundMe to hire a private investigator and fund a “reward for information leading to the location of our dear Sky.” The fundraising page says: “Sky is a talented blues musician, a father of 2 daughters and a beloved brother, uncle, cousin and friend. He has experienced some major challenges in this life and if you know him, you know what they are. He also made great strides to overcome them and realize his true nature as an artist and loving human being with great emotional depth. Many of us are extremely distraught at his disappearance and would be grateful to see resources generated in the aid of his return.” For decades, Sky has been a regular gigger at music venues across the greater Bay Area, oftentimes playing blues harmonica and singing alongside guitarist Derek Irving. One of Sonoma County’s most famous blues musicians, Charlie Musselwhite, writes on Facebook: “We used to communicate regularly and then he just disappeared and I’ve been wondering what happened and haven’t heard a thing.” Sky’s girlfriend Nicole says the last time she saw him, he was leaving her place on Sunday, Jan. 21 to go for a walk — and someone else told her they saw him later that night in downtown Guerneville, near the bridge. A week ago, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook: “We are asking our communities for help locating missing Guerneville area resident Sky O’Banion. Sky is 50 years old, 6’3″ tall and approximately 190 pounds with brown hair and green eyes. If you have any information or have seen Sky after 1/21/24, please get in touch with the Sheriff’s dispatch at 707-565-2121 or the River Substation at 707-869-0202.” And Sky’s loved ones tell me the specific detective assigned to the case can be reached at (707) 565-1612. (Source: GoFundMe & Sonoma Sheriff via Facebook)

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