Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Another American Ex-Pat Missing in Baja, Ca

Yaqui for Borderland Beat

              Mary Ann Humfreville didn't appear for a breakfast meeting on December 17, 2020.

The Baja California woman has been missing for 42 days. The Bahía de los Ángeles resident was last heard from December 16, 2020

Originally Published on Friday, December 25, 2020  Baja Nomad Forum

Authorities in Baja California have been unable to determine what happened to a Bahía de los Ángeles woman who has been missing since December 17.

There has been no contact with Mary Ann Humfreville, 74, since she spoke by phone with her son on December 16.

On the following day she didn’t turn up for a breakfast meeting. Friends later found her home empty apart from a dog and a cat inside the house. Also missing was her red 1998 Ford F-150 pickup bearing California plates.

Humfreville was a full-time resident of Bahía de los Ángeles, a town in the municipality of San Quintín.

Friends and neighbors all say she never would have left without let them know or leaving her pets behind for any length of time. She left behind her shoes, glasses, purse containing her ID, cards and American dollars, her dog and cat. She was not the sad widow that threw back her bedcovers and walked out the door and drove off into the night. Her husband died of a heart attack years ago as she attempted to get him to San Quintin for  acute care.

Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call 911.

Mary Anne Humfreville is 5 feet, 4 inches tall, has short, gray hair and does not speak Spanish.

Mike Humfreville's Book about the remote Baja , California lifestyle in which he and his wife Mary Anne  lived back in the day. Still available on Amazon and other sites.

In the early 1970s, Mike Humfreville and his wife Mary Ann left their surburban home and their jobs at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and headed to Baja California’s Bahia de los Angeles. Living in a tiny hut they constructed on a remote beach, they bonded with each and the special place they had found. In 1985 they did it again, taking their boys, aged 6 and 8, and living in another beachside hut on the shore of the bay. The family's experiences are related in simple but evocative prose by author Mike Humfreville, who had spent years traveling in Baja California, and reads like a modern-day castaway story, full of adventure and struggle, but with the warmth and humor of a loving family working together on a shared dream.

From My BB Post June, 2018:

                    Ray Ball and Jo Anne Butler Murdered in Bahia de Los Angeles, Baja California

Like their fellow Americans in Bahía de los Angeles, Jo Anne Butler and Ray Ball kept returning, year after year, drawn by the small-town feel, the area’s stark natural beauty, the warm Gulf of California waters that lapped almost at their door, friends said.

But the shooting deaths of the two U.S. retirees together with their dog early Saturday at their waterfront house south of town has shattered the tranquility of this community some 380 miles from the U.S. border. Sustained largely by tourism and fishing, Bahía has a year-round population of 1,000, but is also a part-time residence for more than 100 Americans, according to local authorities.

Friends and authorities said Monday that the killings appear to be over a boat — a 22-foot McKee Craft with a Yamaha 250 outboard motor that the couple kept at their house and frequently used for fishing excursions.

“It was an attempted robbery, and an individual went to defend his property, and that’s when they shot him,” said Octavio López, the delegado, or top local government official, in a telephone interview from Bahía de los Angeles. “This is the first time we’ve had something like this happen.”

A neighbor who remained fearful and asked that his name be withheld said he had been awoken at about midnight by gunfire that “sounded like somebody pounding on a metal roof.” Looking outside, he saw a SUV pulling a boat toward the water, “and the thing just buried itself in the sand.”

Unable to move the vessel, the thieves abandoned it, said the neighbor. He then heard them fire more shots, he said.

Realizing this was Ball’s boat, two neighbors went to investigate, and found the couple’s bodies in the house, near a back door. Neighbor Roger Mears, the former off-road racing champion, was the first to discover his friends had been killed, said his wife, Carol. “This has been devastating,” she said.

The 2018 attempted robbery and murder of the B of LA couple came not long after yet another elderly man who had resided there for years was bludgeoned to death with a hammer with no apparent motive.

Eventually a Suspect was Arrested:

“El Yiyo” – main suspect in the murder of Ray Ball and Jo Anne Butler was reportedly shot and killed by soldiers on patrol in the Cataviña area.

Reports are coming out this morning that Héctor Daniel Quiñónez Cortez, alias “El Yiyo”, was shot and killed by elements of the Mexican military in an area near Cataviña, south of Ensenada.

Shortly after midnight yesterday, soldiers from the 67th Infantry Battalion out of San Quintin were on patrol on a local road in the town of El Mármol, Cataviña Delegation, when they observed a vehicle attempting to flee and the soldiers began a pursuit.

At some point thereafter, a gun battle ensued and aboard the vehicle was found the body of “El Yiyo”, killed by the soldiers gunfire.

“El Yiyo” was a resident of Bahía de los Ángeles, where all of the local local residents knew him to be a drug trafficker as well as a thief, suspected of countless home burglaries in the local area.

             Héctor Daniel Quiñónez Cortez – “El Yiyo” – mugshot from 2010

Suspect in the murder of Ray Ball and Jo Anne Butler:

Héctor Daniel Quiñónez Cortez – “El Yiyo” – was arrested on December 13, 2019 for his participation in the double homicide of Americans Jo Anne Butler and Ray Edward Ball, which occurred during an attempted robbery in the early morning of June 2, 2018, at their home where the retired couple lived in the Bahía de Los Ángeles delegation.

Quiñónez Cortez was arrested based on statements given by 3 separate witnesses who all identified him as being involved with the attempted robbery and the murders of Ray Ball and Jo Anne Butler.

A week later, on December 18, during the hearing to formally charge Quiñónez Cortez for his participation in the crime, his attorney presented the same three witnesses who had previously given their testimony before agents of the Ministerial Police, accusing "El Yiyo" of the murders.

At that hearing, the three witnesses all recanted their accusations and claimed they had been pressured by the agents interrogating them to finger Quiñónez Cortez.

After hearing their testimony recanting their previous statements, the judge – José Luis Castañeda – ruled that there was insufficient evidence to charge Quiñónez Cortez and he was released.

The judge then reprimanded the agents, based on the witnesses charges, but it is widely suspected that the families of the 3 witnesses were threatened and why the witnesses all suddenly changed their stories.

It has also been alleged that Rubén Arenivar – defense attorney for Quiñónez Cortez – was involved in the threats to the families of the witnesses.

Four months later, that same defense attorney was found murdered in his car in Ensenada on April 24, 2020.

Source: Mexico News Daily,  San Diego Tribune , talkbaja


  1. Also the Austrian guy who went missing in Tijuana, car found in Sonora.

    Can't remember if you covered the retired firefighter who was also killed.

    1. I do not remember that one. Do you know where ?
      Thanks !

  2. Bahia de los Angeles has changed over the last decade. It used to be a safe place with great people.
    I started noticing the tweakers cruising around town about ten years ago.

    Sad to see what it has turned into.

  3. Most of baja is the same now, sad. Used to be beautiful and relatively safe, but with the economy in mexico in the tank and drugs prevailing all over, murder is just another way of life. Killing someone is easy as pulling into oxxo to get a six pack.

    1. 150 pesos (7 bucks or so) and you’re as good as dead in Mexico. Very unfortunate.

  4. So mexico is not safe??? Should I stay away???

    1. Just have some street knowledge and you should be good...

    2. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

  5. I posted above about the decline of BofLA and the influx of meth.
    It saddens me as I have spent a lot of time there.

    I'll never forget the first time I arrived there in the late afternoon and I stopped above the town and took in the magnificent view of the sea and the islands.
    At least I have my memories.

    This same situation is playing out in all of Baja. It is no longer safe unless you are in a decent hotel with a honest parking lot guard.
    Camping by yourself is done at great risk.

    1. I absolutely agree.
      Sad indeed for those of us who were fortunate enough to enjoy / be enthralled by what Baja Peninsula used to offer. I can not even recommend off road exploring, hiking etc any more. There are drugs and desperate people everywhere now. Heartbreaking.

    2. Also, most of us did not go to Baja to stay in a decent hotel w an guarded parking lot ! I have fished and dove most of those islands for years......not to mention hanging out with Whales and Bighorn; the conservation efforts have been astounding, thank goodness the Pinturas Repuestras are a World Heritage Site in La Sierra de San Francisco and the breeding lagoons for the grey whales.

  6. Living in remote or secluded areas infers added risk no matter the country; but especially so in México and countries like it, where impunity is the rule & not the exception. I live in Acapulco 6 months out of the year, arguable more violent and crime ridden than Bahia de Los Angeles, but not too many ladrones make it to my 14th floor condo on the least not in the 7 years I've been here. But I am not naive. I have to drive by the Oxxo where the Nat Geo filmmaker was murdered every time I go to Playa Bonfil to surf.

    Back in 2013, I stopped sharing a casita south of Rosarito @ ~Km55...there were tweakers all over. They broke in twice, stealing everything that wasn't bolted down. The buddy I shared the house with kept it and has informed me the tweaker situation has subsided...maybe they're dying off, who knows? At any rate, we must all come to terms with the cost/benefit <=> risk/reward tug-o-war in the life choices we make. Are the rewards worth the risk of deadly consequences? Your call.



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