A man has been found dead on Santa Cruz Island.
23-year-old Christopher Anthony Mondiek, from Ohio, was found deceased on the beach of Santa Cruz Island yesterday morning by rescue personnel. Members of the National Park Service along with Santa Barbara and Ventura County Search and Rescue teams made the discovery shortly after 8:00 am. Investigators believe his death was caused by a fall from one of the cliffs.
On Monday the National Park Service was notified by a private boating company in the Ventura Harbor that Mondiek had not returned from an overnight trip to Santa Cruz Island. Mondiek’s vehicle was located in the Ventura Harbor parking lot, indicating he was possibly still on the island. A Ventura County Sheriff’s helicopter was sent to the island Monday and began the search, but was soon turned back due to stormy conditions. Ventura and Santa Barbara Search and Rescue crews responded back to the island Tuesday morning ultimately making the discovery of Mondiek’s body on the beach below a steep cliff.
The decedent’s body was brought back via boat to the Ventura Harbor where coroner’s detectives from the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office took possession of it.
The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office will handle the investigation as Coroner detectives determine the exact circumstances of the death. Initial information suggests the death may have been accidental.