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Body of missing San Francisco radio host located

Jeffrey Vandergrift, known as "JV" to radio fans, was declared a missing person last month.

Jeffrey Vandergrift, known as "JV" to radio fans, was declared a missing person last month.

The body of a popular radio host in San Francisco was pulled from the water of the San Francisco Bay this week, law enforcement officials confirmed on Thursday.

Jeffrey Vandergrift, 54, known to listeners as “JV,” was confirmed dead by police in San Francisco after his body was recovered near Pier 39 late Wednesday afternoon.

Vandergrift had been declared a missing person in late February, but loved ones familiar with the situation affirmed he was likely not going to be found alive.

Vandergrift worked for iHeartMedia-owned KYLD (94.9 FM, Wild 94.9), a Top 40-format radio station in San Francisco. He co-hosted the station’s morning program, “The JV Show,” and had been a prominent figure of the San Francisco Bay radio scene since the 1990s, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

In 2021, Vandergrift was diagnosed with Lyme disease, which commonly causes dizziness and lethargy among patients, but is also known to trigger anxiety and depression.

Vandergrift was open with his colleagues about his depression since the diagnosis, according to a co-worker who spoke with The Desk who did not want to be named. His mental health struggles accelerated prior to his disappearance, a family member later affirmed.

Shortly after he went missing last month, police developed information that indicated Vandergrift may have taken his own life. The conclusion was reached based on some of his activity on computer-related devices, a law enforcement source familiar with the case said. The source requested anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the information publicly.

Earlier this month, Vandergrift’s wife issued a public statement saying she believed her husband would not be returning home.

“I have been in so much pain and fear and I know all of you have been so scared and concerned for JV as well,” wrote Vandergrift’s wife, Natasha Yi, who also works at KYLD.

On Thursday, officials at KYLD wrote they were “devastated to know now that JV is gone.”

“We will continue to work with the authorities as the investigation into JV’s passing continues,” AJ Punjabi, the president of iHeartMedia in San Francisco, said in a statement. “We ask that you respect the privacy of JV’s family during this difficult time.”

Memorial arrangements were not immediately available.

Anyone who is experiencing a mental health crisis, including thoughts of suicide, should contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 9-8-8 or 1-800-273-8255. Those who live or work in San Francisco can also call the San Francisco Suicide Prevention Crisis Line 24 hours a day at 1-415-780-0500 or text the Crisis Line at 1-415-200-2920. 

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).