On August 17, 2018, around 2:00 p.m., Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the area of Hot Springs Trailhead on a report of a suspicious vehicle that was parked near the trailhead since Monday, August 13, 2018. The solo male occupant was last seen walking up the trailhead. The vehicle is registered to Wayne Habell, of Newhall, who was listed as an at-risk missing person out of Los Angeles County. (For further information regarding the circumstances of the missing person report, please contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.)
Sheriff’s deputies, the Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit and Santa Barbara Search and Rescue team members responded and began an extensive search of the area. The search teams were unable to locate Mr. Habell. Due to darkness, the search was called off until the early morning hours on August 18, 2018, when Search and Rescue and the Air Support Unit resumed their search for Mr. Habell.
Today, August 18, 2018 around 6:00 p.m., a male decedent was located in the canyon. The body was taken to the Santa Barbara County Coroner’s Office for further investigation. At this time, the Coroner’s Office is unable to confirm the identity of the decedent. The cause and manner of death are still under investigation.