Authorities are investigating the circumstances that led to the the death of 47-year-old Gilbert Herrera whose body was found Sunday morning in a creek bed below Cold Spring Bridge.
Sheriff’s spokesperson Kelly Hoover said her office received a report Saturday evening that a person may have jumped from the span, which is around 420 feet tall and overlooks the Santa Ynez Valley. She explained the CHP had towed Herrera’s car parked near the bridge at around 7 p.m., and that family members had not seen him for several days. A missing person report was filed, but with night coming and visibility dropping, a search wasn’t started until the next morning.
At around, 11:15 a.m., deputies accompanied by members of the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team found Herrera’s body. Hoover declined to confirm his death was the result of suicide, explaining the investigation into the incident continues.
More than 50 people have jumped to their deaths from Cold Spring Bridge since it was built in 1963. A mesh barrier meant to deter potential suicides was installed along its sides in March 2012 after protracted legal battles between Caltrans and Friends of the Bridge, a small but vocal group that contented the barrier would block valley views. Saturday’s death would be the second suicide from the bridge since the barrier was installed. The last one took place in September 2012.
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If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (273-8255). The number is toll-free and services are available 24/7.