Sunday, December 11 , 2016, 5:10 am | Overcast 56º


Local News

UCSB Student Dies In Fall from Isla Vista Balcony

Victim identified as 22-year-old Mellissa Portillo, second victim hospitalized in stable condition

A UC Santa Barbara student died after falling from the balcony of an Isla Vista apartment early on Thanksgiving Day. Authorities say a second victim also fell but his injuries are not life-threatening.

According to Santa Barbara County sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Williams, deputies were dispatched to the 6500 block of Cordoba Road just before 1 a.m. Thursday to investigate a report that two people had fallen from an apartment balcony. Williams said one of the victims, a woman, was found to have suffered blunt-force trauma to the head and was unresponsive while the second victim was complaining of pain in his head and back.

Williams said deputies immediately administered first aid until paramedics arrived and transported the victims to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

The woman — identified as Mellissa Portillo, a 22-year-old student from Los Angeles — was pronounced dead by hospital staff, Williams said.

The second victim, Michael A.J.H. Kuster, also 22, was hospitalized in stable condition, he said.

Williams said the initial investigation determined that the incident appeared to be accidental, with Portillo and Kuster falling over a second-story stair railing at the apartment complex. Alcohol may have been a factor in the accident, he said, but foul play is not suspected.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >