Saturday, April 30 , 2016, 9:12 pm | Fair 57º

FBI Dive Team Scours Beneath Surface in Death Case

Santa Barbara police still trying to determine how Christopher Evan Marks died

By Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper |

About 20 FBI team members were diving underneath the waves and scouring the bluffs at Leadbetter Beach on Wednesday in an effort to uncover more evidence in a death that occurred two weeks ago.

The body of Christopher Evan Marks, 60, was was found on the beach Sept. 20, and Santa Barbara police began taking a closer look at the death last week, when they received his autopsy report back from the coroner’s office.

Details are scant on what police and FBI agents are looking for, but police say they haven’t determined whether Marks committed suicide, or was the victim of an accident or foul play.

Last Thursday, police cordoned off part of the beach, and the bluff above, and combed through the sand and vegetation looking for evidence.  As many as 20 officers were on scene — using rakes, shovels and a metal detector — and were assisted by a skip loader.

Noozhawk spoke with FBI Special Agent Robert Chacon, who was the dive team leader working with a 12-member dive team at Leadbetter on Wednesday. 

The LA-based FBI team had four divers underwater with metal detectors on their tanks, and were working to communicate with agents on shore.

“We’re looking for any general evidence that could contribute to the case,” he said. “It could be anything.”

Though they hadn’t found much —  Chacon said the sand was very clean with little trash or debris — he said it’s possible that even small objects could be locked in between the sand and rocks under the surface.

The divers were scouring the sand in water as deep as 100 feet, Chacon said. 

Another FBI group, the evidence recovery team, was outfitted in climbing gear and searching the bluffs with metal detectors as well.

Police Sgt. Riley Harwood was also on the scene, but said he could not reveal any new details about the case.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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