Authorities have identified the man found dead on Saturday morning in the Carpinteria Salt Marsh as Michael Ornelas, who was 63 years old. According to Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kelly Hoover, Ornelas is believed to have killed himself; his official cause and manner of death is pending toxicology results. A passerby spot Ornelas’s body on October 4, and Sheriff’s deputies and Search and Rescue officers, along with personnel from the Carpinteria Summerland Fire District, helped with the investigation.
An obituary released by Pueblo Del Rey Funeral Services stated that Ornelas was born at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in 1951 and lived and went to school in Carpinteria, where he lived his entire life minus 12 years he spent in Washington with his son, Anthony Ornelas, and his wife, Carol Farmer, until her death. Ornelas — who is survived by his mom, son, sisters, brother, and other family members—enjoyed dancing, singing, and going to the beach. “Michael was a charismatic, outgoing, loving man who adored his family and his only son, Anthony,” the obituary reads. “He held a special place in his heart for all his nieces and nephews of all ages, and he will be truly missed and loved by all.”