Body identified as McFarland city manager

By Ashley Fike
Kern Valley Sun

Photo by Ruthann Smith / Special to the Sun
Kern Valley Search and Rescue pulls a car from the Kern River that had been submerged for an unknown period of time.

The Kern County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) has confirmed that the body found in an SUV recovered from the Kern River on July 28 was that of McFarland City Manager John Wooner.

Wooner, 57, had been missing since May and was last seen alive at Hillcrest Memorial Park, a cemetery in Bakersfield.

Wooner’s vehicle, a Dodge SUV, was found fully submerged in the river off of SR-178 in the Kern River Canyon on the afternoon of July 27 and retrieved the next day. California Highway Patrol (CHP) reported that Wooner had been traveling at an unknown speed in an unknown direction, made an unsafe turning movement, and the vehicle left the roadway and tumbled down the embankment into the river.

Anyone with information related to this collision is encouraged to contact the Bakersfield Area CHP at 661-396-6600. Anyone with information related to Wooner’s disappearance is encouraged to contact Bakersfield Police Detective Keith Cason at 661-326-3868.

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