Authorities released no new details Monday about the Cal Poly student who was found dead Saturday morning on the beach near UCSB’s Campus Point.
Giselle Esme Ayala, 18, of Santa Rosa, a sociology freshman at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, came to Isla Vista for the annual spring break party now known as “Deltopia,” according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
Santa Barbara County had closed off the beaches in Isla Vista over the weekend to prevent another “Floatopia” party.
In 2009, thousands of college-aged partygoers came to the beaches and left the area full of trash, and the event resulted in numerous injuries and arrests. Ever since, the Sheriff’s Department enforces beach closures on April weekends when it expects the event to occur.
However, the party has moved to Del Playa Drive, yards from the beach, where thousands of people also gather every Halloween for a massive street party.
Deputies did enforcement and crowd control all weekend for the event, which had twice as many people and nearly twice as many calls for service to law enforcement agencies compared with last year, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.
Authorities estimate that 15,000 to 18,000 people showed up this year, compared with 8,000 to 10,000 people last year, and there were more than 440 calls for service associated with Deltopia to law enforcement alone over the weekend.
Deputies and UCSB Police Department officers arrested 23 people and cited 71, compared with 15 arrests last year.
People were arrested for fights, assaults, sexual battery, public intoxication and other crimes, Hoover said, adding that it was eight arrests more than the previous year.
There were more than twice as many people given medical attention and taken to the hospital this year, she said.
County Emergency Medical Services paramedics contacted 67 patients, 44 of whom were taken to the hospital for injuries and/or alcohol intake, and four people were sent to the hospital Saturday after a balcony collapsed at the senior house of Beta Theta Pi fraternity at 6643 Del Playa Drive.
Last year, there were 26 medical calls and 14 people transported to the hospital.
Twenty people were standing on the wood balcony when it buckled, but the cause is still under investigation, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
County firefighters responded to more than 70 calls for service related to Deltopia.
California Highway Patrol officers issued 59 traffic citations, made five arrests for driving under the influence and towed five vehicles, Hoover said.
Sheriff’s deputies, UCSB Police, county fire, American Medical Response paramedics and Alcohol and Beverage Control representatives were all on the scene this weekend given the anticipation of such a large crowd, she said.
“Because of the growth of the event, the dangers involved with underage drinking, and the number of people being injured, next year the Sheriff’s Office is working with the county, UCSB and law enforcement agencies to determine ways to make the event safer,” she said.
Officials are still investigating Ayala’s case.
Her body was found in the surf west of Campus Point on Saturday morning by a jogger, and authorities asked for the public’s help in identifying her by describing the clothing she was wearing. Her friends reported her missing Saturday night, after last seeing her at about 11 p.m. Friday.
“An autopsy was performed this morning, and the cause and manner of death won’t be released until toxicology reports are back in four to six weeks,” Hoover said Monday.
A candlelight vigil was planned Monday night at the high school to honor her memory, according to a Facebook event page.
Cal Poly president Jeffrey Armstrong and vice president for student affairs Keith Humphrey sent out an email to the campus community Sunday morning.
“Our thoughts are with Giselle’s family and those members of our community who were close to her. The sudden loss of any student community member can be difficult to understand,” they wrote. “In times like these, we ask that all members of our community uphold the principles of The Mustang Way and exercise the extra care for each other that will help us face this challenge.”
The campus has not planned a memorial or vigil as of Monday, said Matt Lazier, interim media relations director.
“In these types of situations, we make sure to consult with family members to make sure that any remembrance of their loved ones is in accordance with their wishes,” he said. “Since Giselle’s family was just informed of her death yesterday, they are still dealing with family arrangements.”