Missing North Bay attorney believed dead after suicide note found

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A prominent Sonoma County attorney who went missing on the Sonoma Coast Saturday is believed to have committed suicide, a Sonoma County sheriff's sergeant said today.

Steven Mitchell, 56, of Santa Rosa, made it clear in note that he intended to end his life, Sgt. Cecile Focha said.

Focha would not say when or where the note was found. She said the note and other factors rule out foul play and formal search efforts for Mitchell have been suspended.

Mitchell's wife reported him missing around 8 p.m. Saturday. On Sunday morning she told the sheriff's office her husband's phone was last used in the Bodega Bay area.

State Parks rangers found Mitchell's clothing and 2005 Acura on Carlevaro Way in Bodega Bay and the sheriff's office and park rangers searched for hours Sunday.

Mitchell was with the law firm of Geary, Shea, O'Donnell, Gratton and Mitchell of Santa Rosa.

He represented Sonoma County in a civil suit filed against the county and sheriff's office after Sonoma County sheriff's Deputy Erick Gelhaus fatally shot 13-year-old Andy Lopez on Oct. 22, 2013.

Lopez was carrying a toy gun designed to resemble an assault rifle when he was shot seven times on Moorland Avenue in unincorporated Sonoma County southwest of Santa Rosa.