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Local News

Body of Orange County Woman Found Near Refugio

Sheriff's investigators say this orange kayak may be connected to the death of an Orange County woman whose body was found near Refugio State Beach.

Santa Barbara County sheriff's investigators are working to piece together information surrounding the mysterious discovery of a young woman's body in the ocean near Refugio State Beach.

The body of Kayla Hallee, 20, of Mission Viejo was found Tuesday in the ocean near Tajiguas Beach, according to Kelly Hoover, a sheriff's spokeswoman.

A citizen spotted Hallee in the water at about 2:15 p.m., Hoover said, and called the U.S. Coast Guard for help. 

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Halibut retrieved the body and turned the case over to the Coroner’s Office, which postively identified the body and notified the next of kin.

"It is unclear why Ms. Hallee was in the Santa Barbara area or if she is connected to an abandoned kayak that was found just several miles away near Vista Point around 9:30 a.m. yesterday morning," Hoover said.

The case is under investigation and an exact cause and manner of death are pending autopsy and toxicology results. 

Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 805.681.4100. 

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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