Man captured with local girl in critical condition after jailhouse jump

McFate faces multiple charges in connection with earlier incident

The man connected to a Pleasanton teen who went missing for several days last week is in critical condition following an apparent suicide attempt Monday night.

Gavin McFate, 25, was arrested Sunday morning after he and Shelby Harris, 15, were located at a motel in Westley, Calif., following an anonymous tip to police. It is not known whether Harris was with McFate voluntarily, but McFate was wanted on an Alameda County warrant on prior charges that included unlawful intercourse with a minor and lewd acts with a child under 14.

McFate was on his way Monday night to the showers at Santa Rita Jail when he tried to kill himself, according to Sgt. J.D. Nelson of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.

"He jumped off the tier to the ground below," Nelson said, explaining that the jump was equivalent to diving head first off the second story of a building. "He's in bad shape."

McFate was set for an arraignment today. He has not been charged in connection to Harris' disappearance but faces a total of four earlier sexually related charges, along with a charge of using a minor to carry or sell drugs and one count of possession of a non-narcotic controlled substance, which is typically connected to methamphetamine possession.

Harris, a 15-year-old Amador Valley High School student, went missing on Halloween day. She and McFate were spotted Nov. 1 in the Concord area.

Harris was returned safely to her parents after the pair was seen Sunday at a motel near Interstate 5 in Westley, which is in Stanislaus County, about 45 miles away. Pleasanton police made the trip to the motel where they captured McFate and brought Harris home.

McFate had been ordered held on $1.8 million bail. He's currently being treated at a local hospital, which has not been named.


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Posted by TheReaper
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Nov 8, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Sounds like a problem-solving event to me

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 8, 2011 at 4:17 pm

You know what they say... It's not the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop.

Like this comment
Posted by Craig Pearson
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Nov 8, 2011 at 6:43 pm

To both people who just posted the comments about thinking it is a good thing when a sick person hurts themselves.
My # is 925-400-5808
Call me and we can meet and discuss this in person.

Like this comment
Posted by nonn
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 8, 2011 at 7:17 pm

He will be in the hospital for awhile but this will not reduce his sentence. He will be in prison for a VERY long time.. he's only prolonging this.

Like this comment
Posted by Ash Collins
a resident of Castlewood
on Nov 8, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Yea, to both people who think its a good thing, you are WRONG!!!! It sounds great to me!

Like this comment
Posted by Devon
a resident of Dublin
on Nov 8, 2011 at 8:49 pm

As a former law enforcment officer who was no stranger to the McFate boys, I can tell you that this incident only adds to the tragedy that has already occurred. Like many kids (including some of your own, my naive but judgmental friends), Gavin McFate had serious issues. And now? He's possibly sustained irreversible physical damage that will absolutely guarantee his inability to ever fully assimilate back into society. Yes, I recognize the psychological damage he may have also inflicted upon Shelby Harris, but I seriously doubt even she would have wanted this. Your lynch mob mentality is pathetic...

Like this comment
Posted by Sally
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 8, 2011 at 9:07 pm

All you who are celebrating and judging - Lord forbid something comes your way or leads you astray... You must be ALL so perfect never doing anything wrong to be jury and judge. I personally know Gavin and he was great with my family and mom when she was dying... We are praying for you Gavin...

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 8, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I think some of you should take Mr. Pearson up on his offer.

Like this comment
Posted by Nicole
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Nov 8, 2011 at 10:19 pm

You have no clue who he is! You don't even know what kind of person the man was when he was a kid! It sucking to me that you can even say such harmful words about someone you don't even know. Do me a favor will? Next time you think of talking don't!

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Posted by clink
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2011 at 5:16 am

While everyone is calling Craig, also talk to him about child abusers like Jerry Sandusky, the Penn State Coach and guys like Joe Paterno that look the other way while it's all happening. 10 year old kid getting bonked in the shower, a coach walks in and NOTHING is done.

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Posted by JustMe
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 9, 2011 at 6:54 am

As a family member of a mentally ill person, I am so sorry for Gavin's family. This does not mean I do not have sorrow for the Harris family. Please remember this is someone's brother, son, cousin, friend. I am so sorry for all involved.

Like this comment
Posted by To Craig
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2011 at 7:34 am


I do not think it is a good thing (what happened to his guy). But I do think that the Pleasanton police is too casual about sex offenders (note that is is my opinion only).

I do not know that this person who just hurt himself did, but it is my understanding that he is a sex offender and that the girl is a minor (please correct me if I am wrong). That should have been enough for the police to issue an Amber alert, regardless of whether the girl went "willingly" or not. A minot CANNOT consent, yet the police, to the best of my knowledge (again, correct me if I am wrong), did not issue an Amber alert. Why?

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Posted by Craig
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Nov 9, 2011 at 7:57 am

I never said I condoned his choices...
I never said he was right for allowing her to go with him.
What I said was that any one who thinks it is cool,funny ,or appropriate when some one has mental issues hurts themselves or cant think clear enough to see there can be a future and go do the time....
He is a good human , made wrong choices.
So I gladly welcome a sit down w/ those 3 people who think its cool re this situation...
[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

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Posted by evenflow
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2011 at 8:25 am

For everyone that's all for gavin... U may have known him as a child or growing up or whatever it may be.. gavin is a brother and friend and son ... True... True he MUST be mentally ill after ALL the DECISIONS he has made. But now hes a 25 year old ADULT responsible for his own decisions. Not the kid who went to hs with us. Or who you grew up with. Let it be what it is and move on. Just pray he survives this trauma of a jump and hope that somehow the time in prison will somehow rehabilitate this sick sick person.

Like this comment
Posted by To Craig
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2011 at 8:45 am


I agree that what happened to this guy is not good, and those who think so need to stop their nonsense.

I also did a quick search on the Megan's law database and did not find the guy to be a registered sex offender. I did find some articles where he is referred to as a "wanted felon" but I do not know how reliable or true that information is.

Imo: innocent until proven guilty. He cannot and should not be labeled a sex offender until and if he goes to trial and is convicted of a sex crime. Also, we need to hear his side of the story before passing judgment.


It does not matter whether the girl was nice or not. The law is clear: minors cannot consent and cannot "escape" with an adult. There is no such thing as a 15 year old going with someone "willingly." That said, we do need to hear both sides of the story (from the girl and the guy) before passing judgment.

Like this comment
Posted by Idiots
a resident of Amador Estates
on Nov 9, 2011 at 9:03 am

Reminds me of a story from 60 Minutes a couple years ago. A liberal couple that helped out at the local prison trying to rehabilitate prisoners discovered a man who wrote amazing Poetry. They met the man and established a relationship. When he came up for Parole, they vouched for him and said he could live with them while he sought a job and potential publishing. The couple had 3 kids. After a year or so with this deviant living with them, they found out he had molested the kids since day 1. They were shocked and disgusted when they found out. They wanted the Police to prosecute him to the fullest extemt. In reality they should have went to Prison along side this deviant. They had subjected their kids to horrors beyond belief.
In society today we care more more about the criminals than the victims. Some of these people are broke and will never be fixed. By us trying to fix them we guarantee others will go through the same crimes. It is sad they had events that caused them to be deviants, but they are broke! Lock them up and keep them locked up!

Like this comment
Posted by Fran
a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 9, 2011 at 9:08 am

Our laws are set up to protect a child from sex offenders like this criminal. Protect the children first. She will grow up and mature out of this bad phase of her life, but he absolutely knew better than to take a 15 year old girl from her hometown and family.

Sounds like McFate knew exactly what he deserved.

Like this comment
Posted by Derffy73
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 9, 2011 at 11:45 am

Derffy73 is a registered user.

I've lived in the comunnity for a few years now..... You all seem to know the history of the the people involved... However the whole time I'm reading your unpleasant remarks, I read nothing about the responsiblity of the 15 year old's parents let alone the 25 year old's parents with all of his supposed "issues". Something is wrong here.... There is not a chance in hell my teenage kid is going to be in contact with a 25 year old man..... Just watch me polish my brand new howitzer 105mm on my lawn as you drive past my PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN, AND STAY INFORMED!

Like this comment
Posted by franco
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Nov 10, 2011 at 9:31 pm

franco is a registered user.

Interesting thread, made more so by this Craig Pearson's posts:

"To both people who just posted the comments about thinking it is a good thing when a sick person hurts themselves.
My # is 925-400-5808
Call me and we can meet and discuss this in person."

When I read this, I interpreted it as a threat aimed at the posters to which he was responding.

Some definitions: "A threat may be made by innuendo or suggestion......"

Innuendo: "the intention is often to insult or accuse someone in such a way that one's words, taken literally, are innocent"

The "in person" portion sure makes it sound like a threat to me. Why does he feel a need to talk to anonymous people about their opinions in the first place and why does he need to do it in person?

Like this comment
Posted by bitTlilOny
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2011 at 12:33 am

bitTlilOny is a registered user.

(Removed because post contains unsubstantiated comments)

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Posted by TahoeIsBetter
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Nov 14, 2011 at 4:02 pm

TahoeIsBetter is a registered user.

Does anyone really believe that Gavin attempted suicide? I would bet that he was pushed over the railing by a fellow inmate or a guard. Sex offenders do not last very long in the General Population.

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