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Local News

Biologist Discovers Body on San Miguel Island

A body was discovered Tuesday by a biologist working on the shoreline of San Miguel Island, but officials have not released any information about the person's identity or circumstances surrounding the death.

The body was found on the shoreline of Simonton Cove, which is on the northwest side of the island, by a marine mammal biologist surveying the beach, according to a statement from Channel Islands National Park officials.

"The condition of the body was deteriorated, indicating that it had been exposed to the elements for some time," the statement said.

On Wednesday, a joint investigation team responded to recover the body, including Channel Islands National Park rangers, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office deputies, and U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) special agents.

The island has been closed to the public since April 18, 2014, when the U.S. Navy issued a statement that the park would be closed due to recent concerns of a possible unexploded ordnance in the area.

San Miguel Island was an active bombing range from WWII through the 1970s, and the San Miguel Island is owned by the U.S. Department of Defense and is managed by the National Park Service.

Though the park has been closed to the public, the anchorage spots for boats and waters around the island are still open.

Yvonne Menard, spokeswoman for the Channel Islands National Park, told Noozhawk Thursday that she couldn't comment on the deceased person's identity or what he or she may have been doing in the park at the time of death.

The cove where the body was found was on a remote part of a the island that is not connected by any part of the trail system, Menard said.

Biologists are out at that part of the island "on a consistent basis at this time of year" doing research on sea lions and other ocean mammals, she said.

"The biologist discovered the body in the late afternoon and reported it right away."

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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