What happened to Geoff Jewel on the evening of November 12 is still a mystery.
Jewel, a 52-year-old UCSB staff member, died near the base of the Campus Point bluffs that evening following an altercation with a man who had reportedly been throwing rocks at Jewel’s dog.
Though previous sources close to Jewel said that he died of a heart attack directly on the beach during the confrontation with the person of interest, this is not confirmed and the investigation is still ongoing. The family’s private investigator with Investigations Etc. is looking for the public’s help in solving the mystery. The investigator recounted the following story in hopes that a witness from that evening may share new information.
Jewel loved nature and the ocean. On November 12, he went on a walk with his wife, roommate, and dog. This walk would be his last. The three and their dog were walking along the beach from the parking lot at Campus Point, parking lot six, around the lagoon. There is a popular trail that goes all the way around the lagoon and continues on up over the bluff. It was between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. when the roommate and Jewel stayed behind to take nature photos on the beach while Jewel’s wife walked ahead with their off-leash dog on the beach.
This is where trouble began.
A person described as a white male wearing blue khaki pants and a navy-blue hoodie with collar-length brown hair in his early forties and carrying a guitar allegedly began throwing rocks at the dog, prompting Jewel’s wife to yell at the man. When Jewel realized what was happening, he confronted the man and asked him to leave them alone. The person of interest followed the group down the beach all the way to Campus Point, a 10-minute walk. Jewel was mostly worried at that point that the man was not wearing a mask and risking COVID-19 transmission as well as for his wife and roommate’s safety as the man kept yelling verbal threats at the group.
The mystery comes next. The roommate ran up the hill from the base of Campus Point to call 9-1-1, and Jewel instructed his wife to take the dog and do the same. It was only seconds after they scaled the hill that they heard a loud noise. Jewel’s wife ran back down the hill to investigate and found him dead on the bluff with the person of interest nowhere to be found.
Although the person of interest turned themselves in, he was not arrested by the police, because they said there is no probable cause. According to multiple reports in a UCSB Reddit thread, the man was homeless and known for throwing rocks at dogs.
Whether or not Jewel got into a physical altercation with the man or was directly injured by the man remains to be seen. Jewel was last seen alive rounding Campus Point on the rocks while being followed closely by the man with the guitar. The investigator is hoping any surfers or people near the scene can come forward with additional information.
If any witnesses have new information about the events of November 12, contact Investigations Etc. at firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 568-1434. Witnesses are also encouraged to contact the UCSB Police Department, Detective Avila at (805) 893-3446
Every day, the staff of the Santa Barbara Independent works hard to sort out truth from rumor and keep you informed of what’s happening across the entire Santa Barbara community. Now there’s a way to directly enable these efforts. Support the Independent by making a direct contribution or with a subscription to Indy+.