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Town Auctioned On eBay For Sale Again

A Northern California town put up for auction twice on eBay is on sale again after the hamlet's latest owner committed suicide.

A real estate agent handling the sale confirmed Friday that the tiny Humboldt County town of Bridgeville, population about 30, is on the market for $1.3 million.

The picturesque but dilapidated village on the Van Duzen River gained international notoriety five years ago when its 83 acres were put on the cyber-auction block — the first town ever up for auction on eBay.

The town, which was once a hub for a local stagecoach route and a stop on the Pony Express, includes eight houses, a post office, and a cafe.

Daniel La Paille, 25, a Los Angeles entertainment manager and college student, bought Bridgeville in August 2006 for $1.25 million from Orange County banker Bruce Krall.

Krall had purchased the former timber town for $700,000 after the buyer in the original 2002 eBay auction backed out. Krall re-listed the town on eBay last year, saying he couldn't continue to afford making restorations.

La Paille raised hopes among residents when he brought in work crews to repair many of the town's homes and began building a park. But in November, La Paille shot himself in the chest in Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner's office, and improvement efforts soon faltered.

"When Daniel passed away it was just so devastating," said Rose Valentine, who lives just outside town. "(Bridgeville) is kind of looking pretty shabby again. It's pretty sad."

The burden of maintaining the town has proved too difficult for La Paille's family, said Bruce McNaughton, the real estate agent handling the sale.

The family will likely lose money in the transaction, he said.