Monday, August 20 , 2018, 4:59 am | Fair 64º


Local News

FBI Dive Team Scours Beneath Surface in Death Case

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

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.

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 Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

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.

Sign Up Now >