SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — For those who love and admire longtime San Francisco radio host Jeffrey “JV” Vandergrift, Thursday brought a sad conclusion to the story of his disappearance. The San Francisco Chief Medical Examiner confirmed that a body found on Wednesday in the water near Pier 39 was in fact that of Jeffrey Vandergrift’s.
The popular WiLD 94.9 host vanished on February 23, the same day he hosted his show. He was reported as missing to the San Francisco Police Department that night and police classified him as “at-risk.” He was last seen leaving his home on the 200 block of King Street in San Francisco at 10 p.m.
During his February 23 episode, Vandergrift spoke candidly to WiLD 94.9 listeners about his recent health struggles with Lyme disease.
“The stuff I’ve been going through in my brain that they’re trying to figure out. 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 said. Doctors suspected old infections had “reignited,” JV told listeners.
The 54-year-old Fremont native was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2021.
According to the CDC, Lyme disease can become chronic, and an infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Symptoms can include dizziness, fatigue, and anxiety.
In a blog post titled “JV’s Journey,” he wrote that he experienced “strange surges in my head,” brain fog, anxiety, and depression. His symptoms grew increasingly worse over many months. He wrote in the 2022 blog post, “If you are feeling overly stressed, anxious, depressed or having thoughts of suicide, I promise you are not alone.”
Natasha Yi said her husband suffered “physical torture” over the past two years.
Yi also shared a heart-wrenching update on the search for JV Wednesday night.
“JV and I have always considered this community part of our family, so I want to let you know that personal information has recently been discovered that leads us to believe JV will not be coming back. I tell you this with incredible pain and sadness in my heart. My heart is utterly broken,” Yi wrote on Twitter.
Yi said her husband is still considered missing by SFPD, and there is no foul play suspected in his disappearance.
Yi thanked friends and radio listeners “for your love, support and prayers. I can feel your love and energy for JV, and I am so grateful for it.”
JV is best known for “The Dog House,” a morning show he created when he was 25. It was his dream to host his own San Francisco radio show, according to his biography. He fell in love with radio while he was a student at Fremont High School.
Vandergrift also used to have a segment on KRON4’s morning newscast titled “Check-in With WiLD 94.9’s JV.” KRON4 News Anchor Darya Folsom and JV spent many mornings laughing together over the air and sharing light-hearted stories.
“The Dog House” eventually became the highest-rated morning show in the history of San Francisco radio. His current morning radio show, “The JV Show,” features Yi, Graham, and Selena as co-hosts.
Selena and Graham said the past week felt surreal with JV missing. They broke down into tears while on the air for Thursday’s show as they read the somber update from JV’s wife.
Graham said, “He’s been a part of so many people’s lives. So many people have said, ‘I never met JV personally, but I know him personally. I feel like I know him.’ That’s what makes this even more difficult.”
“Radio was JV’s life. He gave his all. I am blown away at what he was able to put forward on the air. I will forever be in awe,” Graham said.
One listener who called into the show said she grew up listening to JV on “The Dog House,” and now her children listen to “The JV Show.”
Selena said, “JV was a best friend to all of us. He’s the person I’d go to, to feel better, because he knew how to make me smile again. He was always so open and transparent and kind.”
The investigation into his disappearance is ongoing. Anyone with information about the search for Vandergrift is asked to call the San Francisco Police Department at 415-575-4444.