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Local News

Body Found in Lake Cachuma Confirmed as Missing Boater

Isaiah Sanchez, 22, from El Rio in Ventura County was last seen going underwater July 11; the Coroner's Office is investigating the cause of death

The body of a missing boater was found Monday afternoon in Lake Cachuma, ending the 10-day search, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

Isaiah Sanchez, a 22-year-old from El Rio in Ventura County, went missing July 11

His body was found about 100 yards from where he was last seen going underwater, said Kelly Hoover, a sheriff's spokeswoman. 

The cause and manner of death is being investigated by the Coroner's Office, which will include an autopsy and toxicology results, she said.

"A group of citizens who were on a rented pontoon boat spotted what appeared to be a body in the lake and called 9-1-1," Hoover said in a statement Monday evening. 

County Park Rangers, Sheriff’s deputies and a Coroner's detective responded to the scene once the body was discovered.

A positive identification was made after the body was transported by boat to shore. 

Sanchez has been missing since around 8 p.m. on July 11. The small boat he was riding in with two friends developed mechanical problems, according to authorities.

Sanchez and another man, whose name has not been released, ended up in the water, and a third man in the boat signaled to people on shore that they needed help.

Responding county park rangers rescued two of the men, but could not find Sanchez.

The days-long rescue effort to locate Sanchez, who is believed to have drowned, was hampered by zero-visibility conditions in the water that prevented a dive team from searching until conditions improved, Hoover said.

The Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit conducted periodic flyovers of the area and park rangers conducted surface patrols by boat using sonar equipment.

Several county lifeguards were brought in last week to help with visual searches, Hoover said.

California State Parks and the Santa Barbara County Fire Department also assisted with jet skis and searches of shallow areas of the lake and shoreline.

Sanchez’s family, who has been keeping a vigil at the lake since the disappearance, has publicly thanked authorities for their efforts and support but also criticized a lack of proper equipment to properly and quickly locate their missing relative.

The family has set up a memorial fund to support funeral expenses. Donations can be made at Rabobank to account No. 253313005.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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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