Rafu Staff Report
The search for Jay Ishimoto, 48, of Rancho Cucamonga, who was reported missing on July 19, came to an end on July 30 when he was found deceased in Barstow, according to the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department.
The Barstow Police Department did not respond to requests for further details and the San Bernardino County Coroner’s Division had not released any information on the case as of Friday.
On July 19 at approximately 3:46 p.m., a deputy from the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department responded to a residence in the 6500 block of Ash Avenue regarding a missing person report. The deputy was advised by a family member that Ishimoto packed a bag of personal belongings and left his home in a gray 2014 Toyota Prius on the evening of July 18 at approximately 7 p.m.
Ishimoto, who had recently undergone knee surgery and had difficulty walking, told his wife he would travel through Barstow on his way to Las Vegas. According to the police, the family was concerned for his well-being as he had made statements prior to leaving that led them to believe he may have wanted to harm himself.
The police sought the public’s assistance by distributing a flyer with two photos of Ishimoto and a photo of the type of car he was driving.
To help the family with increased health insurance costs, an online fundraising campaign was established Aug. 2 on Gofundme.com by family friend Michelle Dymerski.
“Jay Ishimoto was an amazing father, a loving husband, a devoted middle school teacher, and that guy who would do anything for a friend,” Dymerski wrote. “He loved life and had a memorable laugh — his energy was contagious. His death is a loss for us all but particularly his family … We are a community and we need to help each other.”
Originally from Upland, Ishimoto studied at CSU San Bernardino and taught at Mission Middle School in the Jurupa Unified School District.
Riviera Family Restaurant in Riverside said in a Facebook post on Aug. 1, “We are saddened with the loss of our customer Jay Ishimoto, an amazing math teacher who many of our customers’ children had the privilege of having. He and other teachers gathered at our restaurant for breakfast and even nicknamed themselves the ‘Breakfast Club.’ Their group picture they hung next to the table they gathered at will continue to hang in our business in remembrance of him and what an amazing person he was — always cheerful and so excited about his job, family and life.”
In a Facebook post on Aug. 2, Jennifer Ishimoto acknowledged the many condolences she and her children have received, and said of her husband, “He was loved by so many people. He valued his friends and family greatly. I believe his laugh is memorable and so many people have shared such funny memories and happy times. I just encourage anyone with a ‘Jay’ story or antic to share them on Facebook, forward them to my kids, message me or other family members. These types of memories are so special to us. My grandma said that she imagines my late grandfather and Jay are just somewhere fishing like they did often when both of them were alive …
“Thank you to all the family and friends that passed around the press release, sent a search plane up, and to my sister and mom that so freely helped me badger the police, follow up on leads, and also my brother-in-law, who tirelessly came up with new ideas and suggestions and support so early in the investigation, and for the rest of the Ishimoto family and my family and friends.
“To all of his students: I believe he had remembered each of your assigned names going back years and years … He really loved you guys! … Honor his legacy by being kind and sometimes kinda funny and silly, work hard, go out of your way to make someone smile, and continue to work your butts off like he would make you do if he could be in school on the 8th. Those new 7th-graders need to keep beating the 8th-graders or your teacher may just give you extra homework too — and as Jay would say, ‘No worries.’”