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Former McFarland City Manger John Wooner's emails shed light on days and weeks before disappearance

I-TEAM: Former McFarland city manager John Wooner's emails reveal what was going on in days and weeks leading to his disappearance
Posted at 7:13 PM, Jul 25, 2019
and last updated 2020-01-28 15:55:11-05

MCFARLAND, Calif. — A 23ABC iTeam investigation is revealing new information about the days and weeks leading up to the disappearance of former McFarland city manager John Wooner.

On May 14, 2019 Wooner went missing after visiting the Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery. His wife reported him missing after he didn't return home.

Now, through a public records request, the iTeam has exclusively obtained copies of the last month of Wooner's emails.

In the hundreds of pages of records, it detailed questions about contracts, deadlines for grants, meeting agendas and more. But some emails stuck out over others.
In the first two weeks of May, Wooner received notices that the city of Huntington Beach and Yuba City were both looking to hire city managers. On May 14, the day Wooner went missing, Wooner sent his resume and cover letter for a city manager position to his personal Gmail account.

In the cover letter, Wooner said in part, "I am confident that I would be an excellent fit for the position of city manager." He went on to describes his role as city manager of McFarland and said in part "My recent strategic economic expansion for the city of McFarland required expertise in risk assessment, management, long term planning and maintaining the vision and mission of the city."

Wooners emails also leading the iTeam to one of the last public presentations given by Wooner before he disappeared.
On May 7, 2019 he gave a presentation about the strategic growth and economic development plan for McFarland at the Kern County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Wooner showed the board the latest on road construction, city growth and new businesses that have recently opened in McFarland. He even joked about the most recent business looking to open.

"It's called if you tell anybody who this is, we'll break your legs. So I can't tell you right now. They always keep it hush hush." Wooner said.

Wooner wrapped up his presentation showcasing future plans for the city of McFarland including final negotiations for a $130 million heavy industrial client, a new animal shelter and a $1.8 million grant to build a high end community garden and amphitheater.

23ABC reached out to Yuba City and Huntington Beach to see if Wooner applied to either location. Yuba City said the person who would be able to comment was unavailable today. Huntington Beach said information about applicants is confidential and will not be released.

Bakersfield Police said the investigation into Wooner's disappearance is still ongoing. They're asking anyone with information about Wooner's whereabouts to call them at 327-7111 or by calling the Secret Witness Hotline at 322-4040.