Dan Carbonaro (left) and Chris Rice

The two Santa Barbara men who went missing last Sunday in the desert near the border of San Bernardino and Kern counties have been found dead, according to sources close to the victims’ families.

Search and rescue teams on Thursday afternoon discovered the bodies of Chris Rice, 29, and Dan Carbonaro, 27, a mile-and-a-half southwest from Randsburg in the area of Government Peak. They had set out from the small town at around 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning on a two-seater all-terrain vehicle and were reportedly headed southeast for Cuddeback Dry Lake in San Bernardino County, although their wreckage was located on the opposite side of town.

Their bodies were found 400 feet below the cliff that they drove off; their ATV was another 100 feet down. Sources say the accident occurred the night Rice and Carbonaro left the Cottage Inn in Randsburg. While Kern County and Santa Barbara authorities declined to offer official comment on the discovery, the information that The Independent received from outside sources was confirmed by one of our staff members who knows one of the deceased men and has been in constant contact with family members involved in the now-ended search.

As the hunt for the two men intensified last night and today, the social media world tuned in by the thousands, with #findchrisanddan attracting hundreds of followers on Twitter and nearly 900 people joining the “Friends of Chris Rice and Dan Carbonaro” page on Facebook, not to mention the countless others who just watched both feeds for updates. In the latest series of posts on Facebook, more than 500 comments piled up as hundreds watched the site for the latest news, which was delivered with sadness and authority by Steve Grasha, who wrote:

– Two bodies found about noon today…The ATV went over a cliff and dropped 500 feet. The Bodies are being airlifted now. Found about 1.5 miles from command post.

– The location is Government Peak. I am searching for that now!

– Nothing could have saved them…they passed on impact….The seat belts ripped from the vehicle. The vehicle was found 100 feet further down the cliff from were the bodies were found at about 400 feet over the side…

– I report this with great sadness and held back until I was able to reconfirm that the family’s were notified of the situation.

– I am saddened to no end to have to have been the one to report this information.

– I understand it was a team from Ventura that made the discovery.

An official press conference on the discovery is expected in the near future.


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