Radio Host Jeffrey Vandergrift Found Dead at 55 After Going Missing for Weeks
The body found in the water at Pier 39 in San Francisco was identified as the missing radio DJ Jeffrey Vandergrift, known to Wild 94.9 listers as "JV." Vandergrift was reported missing last month. He was 55.
San Francisco police were called after a body was found in the water Wednesday afternoon, reports CBS News Bay Area. On Thursday morning, the San Francisco Medical Examiner's Office confirmed the body was identified as Vandergraft's. Police do not suspect foul play.
"With a heavy heart, we must confirm that the body found near Pier 39 on Wednesday afternoon has been identified as our dear friend, family member & colleague, JV," Wild 94.9 staff said in a statement Thursday. "We are devastated to know that JV is gone. Please keep his wife, Natasha, his family, and close friends in your thoughts and prayers."
Vandergraft's wife, Natasha Yi, told fans on March 2 that "personal information" was discovered that lead the family to believe Vandergraft was not going to be found safe. "I tell you this with incredible pain and sadness in my heart," she wrote. "Thank you to our friends and the entire i-HeartRadio family and listeners for your love, support, and prayers," Yi added. "I can feel your love and energy for JV, and I am so grateful for it. The amount of compassion for the physical torture JV has been going through for the past 2 years has been overwhelming."
The radio host was last seen on Feb. 23 near his San Francisco home. Police began their search the following day, announcing that they thought Vandergraft was "at risk." Vandergraft spoke about self-harm ideation in the past, notes KTVU, and discussed struggles with Lyme disease. However, police have not released a cause of death yet.
"The stuff I've been going through in my brain that they're trying to figure out. Ugh," Vandergraft told listeners just hours before he was last seen, reports PEOPLE. He said doctors told him something could have "reignited" past infections. "The body and the pain and all that stuff, I can handle. What it's doing to my brain I could never describe to you," he explained, adding that doctors thought about trying "experimental medications" or "risky" surgery.
Vandergraft began working on Bay Area radio stations in the 1990s. He joined Dan "Elvis" Lay and Lance "Hollywood" Otani as part of the popular "The Doghouse" morning team on Wild 94.9. After a brief tenure in New York, he returned to Wild 94.9 to host The JV Show in the mornings.
"Thank you for a wonderful life-filed w joy, laughs, pain & struggle," Vandergraft wrote in his final Instagram post on Aug. 20, 2022. "It's been a great journey. Your support & prayers meant the world. Keep shinin' love... compassion... understanding... truth... forgiveness... peace... and hope... for others."
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call or text 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. The previous Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will always remain available.0comments