Friday, December 15 , 2017, 6:32 am | Smoke 37º


Local News

Lompoc Man Missing In Kern County’s Lake Isabella

A Lompoc man has been missing since Saturday after disappearing in the swift-moving Lake Isabella, prompting the family to travel to Kern County in hopes of finding him.

Paige Arellanes, 18, and two cousins were floating near Red’s Marina at the Kern County lake on Saturday afternoon.

“He was on a floating device with a younger cousin and it became untied from the rock anchoring them down,” his sister-in-law Jeanette Gaitan said Tuesday.

Arellanes pushed his cousin toward shore before disappearing under the water. 

“And he never came back up,” Gaitan added.

A Kern County Sheriff's Department spokesman did not have information about the incident, saying he needed to contact search and rescue team members. 

Family members from Lompoc joined the search Tuesday and planned to stay Wednesday, Gaitan said.

“What we need are people who have boats and people who have diving skills,” she said. “At this point that’s what we’re looking for,” Gaitan said.

They also hope a cadaver dog could help locate the missing man.

In addition to the Lompoc contingent, Kern County residents have joined the search. One person donated six cases of water and snacks to support those checking on shore for the missing teen. 

Arellanes, who attended Maple High School, spent time at Lompoc’s skateboard and bike parks. While growing up, the Lompoc native also was involved in baseball.

“He was kind. He was smart,” Gaitan said. “He was always there when you needed him so now it’s time to be here for him.”

Arellanes, who turned 18 on July 4, was spending time with his grandfather and other extended family, with the Lake Isabella trip among his last stops before the planned return to Lompoc.

“I didn’t realize how many people knew him until I started posting about needing help,” Gaitan said.

The Kern River feeds the Lake Isabella, which is approximately 40 miles northeast of Bakersfield. 

As heavy snow pack melts in the nearby mountains, rivers are seeing strong currents that are making summer fun treacherous in Kern County, which has a handful of other missing people and about dozen drownings since Memorial Day and even more near drowning incidents.

“We’re obviously hoping for the best, but we’re expecting the worst,” Gaitan said. “We want to bring him home.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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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