Saturday, May 28 , 2016, 2:08 pm | Overcast 65º




Two Bodies Found in Mojave Desert May Be Missing Santa Barbara Men

Chris Rice and Daniel Carbonaro never returned after heading out Sunday for an early-morning ride on an all-terrain vehicle

By Alex Kacik, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @NoozhawkBiz | updated logo |

The search may be over for Chris Rice and Dan Carbonaro, two Santa Barbara men missing since Sunday in the desert area near the border of San Bernardino and Kern counties.

Two unidentified bodies were found at Government Peak in the Mojave Desert about noon Thursday, according to Kern County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Ray Pruitt. He said they were more than a mile from Randsburg, where Rice, 29, and Carbonaro, 27, left the Cottage Inn Motel on an all-terrain vehicle about 2:30 a.m. Sunday.

Pruitt said the bodies are being transported to the Kern County Coroner’s Office, and identifications will be confirmed within the next few days.

Terry Baxter, a friend of the men, said in an email to Noozhawk on Thursday night that Rice and Carbonaro had apparently driven off a cliff, falling about 500 feet. She said it is believed that they died on impact.

Rice and Carbonaro, both outdoor enthusiasts, were headed to Cuddeback Lake in San Bernardino County, according to Pruitt.

“Thank you all. My brother was full of life and love. Let’s celebrate that in his memory. Dan Carbonaro, how I will miss you, I love you,” Sharifa Jones posted on the Facebook group “Friends of the Chris Rice and Dan Carbonaro Search” that already has more than 900 members. Creation of a memorial page is under way.

The men had planned on a 45-minute trip and didn’t bring food, water, extra clothing or their cell phones. The area is known for rough terrain and numerous open mine shafts in the area — about 15,000 in San Bernardino and Riverside counties alone.

“Dan was a model human, strong, kind, humble and one of the most solid souls I’ve had the pleasure to spin on this rock together with,” Jonathon Brown posted on the Facebook page. “You will be dearly missed my good friend, I will always remember your kind smile. You were in inspiration to me and all who were blessed by knowing you. R.I.P. Dan and Chris.”

Mojave resident Wayne Nosala, who volunteers for Off-Highway Motor Vehicles Recreation, said the area is a hub for that type of activity and gets extremely busy during the holidays.

“This incident is the worst recipe you could have happen,” Nosala said. “You don’t leave a town at 2 a.m. to go play, leave your cell phones in the truck and go by yourself. The biggest thing is you have to have a travel partner, a second Polaris.”

The Kern County Desert Search & Rescue Team, the Indian Wells Mine Rescue Team, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office, the China Lake Mountain Rescue Group and Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department were all part of this week’s ground and aerial search party that exceeded 200 people.

“It feels unreal we could pour so much into it, and have a sad ending,” Baxter posted on the Facebook page. “Yet who Dan and Chris are as people is exactly why we did it. While grieving know everyone did their very best and we have showed their family how amazing they were as people. It was not wasted!”

Friends said Friday that a celebration of life for Rice is tentatively set for Jan. 4 in Santa Barbara. No further details have been released.

The Dan Carbonaro and Chris Rice Search Fund has been opened at Santa Barbara Bank & Trust. The account number is 0102413861. Stop by any branch or mail to SBBT/Cottage Office, 220 Nogales St., Santa Barbara CA 93105. Put a note in the envelope marked C/O Jonathan J. Katz-Moses: Dan Carbonaro and Chris Rice Search Fund. Click here to make an online donation.

All donations will help Rice’s and Carbonaro’s families pay for hotels, supplies, funeral arrangements, etc. Call 805.448.8234 for more information.

“Chris was a light in our lives,” Amy Stanfield posted on the Facebook page.

Noozhawk staff writer Alex Kacik 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.




Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

 

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.