Santa Barbara Coroner Identifies Deceased Diver as Missing Ventura Man

Ryder Sturt, 31, Failed to Surface While Tank Diving Off Santa Cruz Island in 2020

Ryder Sturt | Credit: Courtesy of Sturt's Facebook Page

The body of a deceased diver recovered off Santa Cruz Island this November has been identified as a Ventura man who went missing in the area two years ago. The Santa Barbara County Coroner’s Bureau has confirmed that the decedent is 31-year-old Ryder Sturt.

Sturt was declared missing after he failed to surface while tank diving for lobster with a partner near Painted Cave on November 29, 2020. A search of the area conducted by the Sheriff’s Office and Coast Guard at the time was unsuccessful. Then this November 5, two recreational divers exploring a nearby underwater cave system discovered the remains of a deceased diver and notified the Sheriff’s Office, who recovered the body near Seal Cove on November 11 in coordination with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office Marine Enforcement Unit, and the National Park Service.

The diver’s body was transported to the Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Bureau for further investigation, and coroner’s detectives used rapid DNA to positively identity the deceased diver as Sturt.

Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Raquel Zick noted at the time of Sturt’s disappearance that the “incident does not appear suspicious in nature.”

CORRECTION: This story was updated to correct Ryder Sturt‘s age and city of residence.


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