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Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 9:06 pm | Fair 56º


Friends of Dan Carbonaro Focus on Silver Lining Amid Tragic ATV Deaths

Hundreds of people, even strangers, united for a single cause in searching for the two missing Santa Barbara men

Like countless others, Brian Fong-Murdock dropped everything and hit the road. The friend of Dan Carbonaro got to Randsburg at 3 a.m. Thursday and joined the search party that exceeded 200 people.

“How (everyone) responded was overwhelming; it was amazing,” Fong-Murdock said.

But it wasn’t only family and friends who joined the search efforts for 27-year-old Carbonaro and 29-year-old Chris Rice, both of Santa Barbara, who went missing Dec. 18 in the desert area near the border of San Bernardino and Kern counties after leaving the Cottage Inn Motel in Randsburg about 2:30 a.m. for a ride on an all-terrain vehicle. Even strangers scoured the desert, the Cottage Inn Motel provided supplies and more than 1,000 people updated the Facebook group Friends of the Chris Rice and Dan Carbonaro Search.

“I think it’s terrible we lost two wonderful people, but it’s amazing that in the process thousands came together for one cause,” said Jonathan Katz-Moses, a friend of Carbonaro. “Even random strangers worked together to try to find these guys.”

Two adult bodies were found at the base of a 500-cliff at Government Peak in the Mojave Desert about noon Thursday, according to Kern County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Vic Keesey. He said the men, headed to Cuddeback Lake in San Bernardino County, were more than a mile from Randsburg.

“People gave up every part of their responsibility to help. It shows a lot about how they impacted the community,” Katz-Moses said. “Through the outpouring of love and support, anyone could see that the world would be a darker place without these guys. It shows the character these two guys had. We lost two great people.”

Friends and family are invited to honor Carbonaro’s life at 11 a.m. Wednesday in the Godric Grove area of Elings Park in Goleta. The media are not invited to Carbonaro’s services Wednesday. Rice’s memorial is set for Jan. 4. No further details have been released.

“The support that the family has gotten from the community has meant a lot to them,” family friend Jill Martin said. “It doesn’t get rid of the pain or loss, but it’s very meaningful. It’s really a beautiful thing to see and hear so many people reach out to them from all over the country.”

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.

Katz-Moses said donations have been received from as far away as China. Friends said Carbonaro would be the first one to help a friend in need.

“It reminds me I need to take a step back sometimes, take a deep breath and realize the little things don’t matter,” Katz-Moses said. “It’s all about loving and taking care of friends and family, and having as much fun as you can while you are here. It’s a tragedy, but it’s important we learn to be better people because of it.”

Possessing a love for life is an understatement when it comes to Carbonaro, Fong-Murdock said.

“(Dan) would not want people to be upset. He would be stoked that all the people he loved were together, because it wouldn’t have happened otherwise,” he said. “He would be really happy that all the people he loved were just spending time with each other. He would say Merry Christmas and have that be a gift to us.”

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.

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