Ten days after he went missing in Cachuma Lake, the body of 22-year-old Isaiah Sanchez of El Rio was found just after noon today, July 21, about one hundred yards from where he was last seen going underwater. A group of citizens who were on a rented pontoon boat spotted what appeared to be a body in the lake and called 9-1-1. County Park Rangers, Sheriff’s deputies and a Sheriff’s Coroner’s detective responded. The body was transported by boat to the shore where a positive identification was made.
The cause and manner of death is pending the completion of the Coroner’s investigation which will include an autopsy and toxicology results.
The search to locate a missing man who was last seen on July 11, 2014 in Cachuma Lake continues and is a multi-agency collaborative effort. The victim is 22-year-old Isaiah Sanchez of El Rio, California. For the past several days, the Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit has been conducting periodic flyovers of the area in hopes of finding Sanchez. Due to zero visibility conditions in the lake, the Sheriff’s Dive Team has not been able to go back in the water and search. The team may get called back in if conditions improve.
County Park Rangers continue to conduct surface patrols by boat using sonar equipment. Today, several County lifeguards were brought in to help with visual searches.
In response to a request from County Parks for mutual aid, California State Parks and the Santa Barbara County Fire Department responded with personnel on jet skis who are searching the shallow areas of the lake and shoreline.
The Sheriff’s Dive Team has suspended its search for a possible drowning victim at Cachuma Lake. Divers reached a depth of 80 feet under zero visibility conditions and performed a search of the immediate area where the 22-year-old male victim was last seen. If conditions improve, the Sheriff’s Dive Team may be called in to search again. In the meantime, County Park Rangers continue to do surface patrols of the area. Boating at Cachuma Lake will remain closed for the remainder of the day.
The identity of the victim is not being released at this time.
Search Underway for Missing Man at Lake Cachuma
Cahuma Lake - July 12th, 2014
Boating at Cachuma Lake is closed today while the Sheriff’s Dive Team searches for a 22-year-old male who was last seen going underwater last night, July 11, just before 8 p.m. A visitor to the Cachuma Lake Recreation Area called 9-1-1 to report that there was boat about 50 yards offshore, at the north end of the Dakota Plains camping area, with a male waving his warms in distress and two individuals in the water. County Park Rangers at Cachuma Lake responded on a patrol boat and discovered one male victim struggling in the water. They were able to rescue him but were unable to locate the second male subject.
County Park Rangers continued to look for the victim and were assisted by personnel from Santa Barbara County Fire and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. Together, they searched for the missing subject both on land and in the water. A total of four search vessels were utilized, including two County Park Ranger patrol boats and two Santa Barbara County Fire jet skis. The search was called off for the night at approximately 10:00 p.m. due to poor visibility.
The search continued this morning with personnel from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dive Team and County Park Rangers, which routinely train together for water responses. County Park Rangers are operating the patrol boat for the Sheriff’s Dive Team. The area where the victim was last seen and where the other male subject was rescued is approximately 80 feet deep. Boating at the lake is closed to the public due to the active search effort but the Cachuma Lake Recreation area, which is booked at full capacity this weekend, remains open.
The identities of the three males involved are not being released at this time. They were camping together and the boat they were on reportedly had engine problems. The circumstances of how they ended up in the water is under investigation but at this point it appears the victim may have been trying to swim to shore.
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