Body in underwater cave may be diver who vanished in 2020

November 15, 2022 GMT

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — A body that was found this month in an underwater cave in Southern California may be that of a scuba diver who vanished two years ago, authorities said Monday.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, working with divers from other agencies, recovered the remains Saturday, a week after it was notified that two recreational divers had discovered a possible body near the ocean floor in a cave system on Santa Cruz Island.

“The location of the recovery corresponds to a missing diver investigation from 2020,” a Sheriff’s Office statement said.

Ryder Sturt, 34, of Port Hueneme, reportedly was diving for lobster with a partner on Nov. 29, 2020, in the Painted Cave Preserve area of the central California coastal island and never surfaced, authorities have said.

Coroner’s investigators will use rapid DNA testing to confirm the identity of the body, and the determination could be completed next week, the Sheriff’s Office said.