One Dies, One Injured in Isla Vista Fall

Melissa Portillo, 22, Killed and Michael Kuster, 22, Badly Hurt After Falling from Balcony

Friday, November 23, 2012
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A UCSB student died early Thanksgiving morning after apparently falling from an apartment balcony in Isla Vista. Also involved in the fall was her friend, a male SBCC student who was taken to the hospital, where he remains in stable condition.

When deputies arrived at the residence on the 6500 block of Cordoba Road just before 1 a.m. on Thursday morning, UCSB student Melissa Portillo, 22 years old and originally from Los Angeles, was unresponsive due to blunt trauma to the head. Nearby was 22-year-old Michel A.J.H. Kuster, who was responsive but suffering from injuries to his head and back. The two were rushed to Cottage Hospital, where Portillo was pronounced dead not long after.

According to Sgt. Mark Williams of the sheriff’s department, the initial investigation showed the incident to be an accident. Both Portillo and Kuster, Williams said, appear to have fallen over a second-story railing at the top of stairs on the outside of the apartment. He said alcohol may have been a factor, but foul play was not suspected.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

So sad

austexcal (anonymous profile)
November 23, 2012 at 4:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Too sad.

blackpoodles (anonymous profile)
November 23, 2012 at 9:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Alcohol may have been a factor"...Drugs and alcohol continue to cut down so many young people in their prime... UCSB leaders need to get w/ it and educate these kids that they can't party themselves into oblivion on Fri and Sat nights.

BondJamesBond (anonymous profile)
November 24, 2012 at 3:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

or make that.... Before T-day break

BondJamesBond (anonymous profile)
November 24, 2012 at 3:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So sorry to read this - those poor families.. 22 is too young.

bloodydramaqueen (anonymous profile)
November 24, 2012 at 5:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As a former UCSB student I believe that every year somebody dies for the other student sins. It's tragic but I hope it provides some significance to a waste of an important life.

Each of the 4 years I was there at least one person died. It made others of us take our behaviors more seriously.

ahem (anonymous profile)
November 25, 2012 at 6:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

My deepest condolences to the family of the young woman who left us too early. I almost lost my son to Diabetes Type I in November, and know the deep worry of "Will he make it? Please Lord, Please spare him." So I know the worry of the family of the young man. Please put up barriers to save our young people, please. God bless all.

patrick58 (anonymous profile)
November 26, 2012 at 12:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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