The remains of the body found in the Mission Creek channel between Figueroa and Arrellaga streets last week has been identified as Jon Vreeland, 41, a former freelance writer for the Montecito Journal and other publications. (An initial report said his age was 48, but family members report that he was actually 41.) In the Journal, Vreeland — described in initial police press releases as homeless person — wrote profiles about creative people with a literary flair infused with a touch of street grit.
In other writings, Vreeland detailed his struggles over the years with heroin addiction. Though no cause of death was officially provided, authorities have suggested Vreeland’s death appeared to have been related to a drug overdose. The stretch of Mission Creek where his body was found is allegedly popular with drug dealers and is well known to law enforcement.
Both the Sheriff’s Office and the Santa Barbara Police Department have reported an elevated number of opioid-related overdoses — not to mention overdose reversals — and national public health authorities have linked the COVID-19 pandemic to a significant uptick in opioid-related deaths.