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Local News

Young Woman Who Died During Last Year’s ‘Deltopia’ Is Remembered

Students gather in memory of Giselle Esme Ayala, a Cal Poly student who suffered fatal injuries in a fall from the Isla Vista bluffs

Just days before the giant "Deltopia" street party is Isla Vista is set to begin, a small group of students gathered Wednesday night at UCSB to remember a young woman who died last year in a fall from the community's beachside bluffs.

Giselle Esme Ayala
Giselle Esme Ayala

Giselle Esme Ayala, an 18-year-old sociology freshman at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, suffered fatal injuries April 6, 2013, when she tumbled over the cliffs that run along the ocean side of Del Playa Drive, according to the Santa Barbara County Coroner's Office.

Ayala, who was from Santa Rosa, had come to Isla Vista with a group of friends for the annual spring break party known as “Deltopia.”

She and her friends partied in Isla Vista on a Friday night, and she was last seen at about 11 p.m., according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Her body was found in the surf west of Campus Point the next morning by a jogger, and her friends reported her missing Saturday night, officials said.

Both students and law enforcement are gearing up for this weekend's rerun of "Deltopia."

The street celebration morphed from an earlier party on the beach, known as "Floatopia," that led to numerous injuries and arrests, and left behind large amounts of trash and human waste.

In the wake of that incident, county officials closed off the beaches of Isla Vista during the first week of April, prompting students to move their party onshore.

Wednesday night's vigil was organized by the Associated Students Public Safety Commission, and a group called Fence IV, which has advocated for installation of fencing along the community's bluff tops to prevent future injuries.

Among those speaking at the event was Molly Morrison, a member of the Public Safety Commission and a close friend of Ayala.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton 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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