Body in underwater cave possible diver who disappeared in 2020

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (TBEN) — A body found this month in an underwater cave in Southern California may be that of a diver who disappeared 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 being informed that two recreational divers had discovered a possible body near the ocean floor in a cave system on Santa Cruz Island.

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“The location of the salvage is consistent with a 2020 missing diver investigation,” a statement from the Sheriff’s Office said.

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

The coroner’s investigators will use rapid TBEN testing to confirm the body’s identity, and the determination could be finalized next week, the sheriff’s office said.

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