DEATHS: SANTA CRUZ ISLAND
19th CENTURY DEATHS
1854 William Butterfield, Island resident who drowned on September 15 departing on Queen of the West.
1856 John Henry Kelty drowned while bathing on June 9.
1865 George Frank Leslie, Santa Cruz Island Company employee who drowned in the channel.
[1868 Jose ______] Shaw/SCICo employee, Indian murdered by Francisco Dominguez in S.B.
1871 James Tryce, a sealer taken sick in mid-June on San Miguel Island; he died Santa Cruz Island.
1876 Chinaman jumped overboard from the Star of Freedom and was drowned May 29.
1885 Tomas Sansoni, SCICo employee run over by a wagon.
1888 Unidentified body was found washed ashore on Santa Cruz Island.
1893 Louis Raynal, SCICo employee killed by a mowing machine.
1895 Angelo Forno, SCICo employee fell from his horse.
1895 Jose Camarillo died on the island July 11.
20th CENTURY DEATHS
1901 Felix Botiller accidentally drowned off the schooner Santa Cruz on January 8.
1902 August Erickson, Swedish fisherman who drowned in early March off Smugglers.
1904 S. W. Cooney drowned in the vicinity of Lady’s Harbor in November.
1908 Dr. Joseph B. Tanner, L.A. police surgeon who drowned off Gull Rock on April 3.
1908 Lucero, an Italian fisherman who drowned November 11 while fishing.
1910 Thomas Del Valle accidentally drowned in a skiff accident off Cueva Valdez on July 8.
1910 Isabel Pierce accidentally drowned in a skiff accident off Cueva Valdez on July 8.
1912 Pietro Noceti, SCICo employee accidentally drowned at Scorpion on September 15.
1912 George Tappan committed suicide (shot himself in the head) at Fry’s Harbor December 31.
1913 David Jacobs was drowned off the Gussie M on June 29 returning from Santa Cruz Island.
1915 Belisario Valencia, SCICo employee accidentally drowned at Scorpion Harbor on February 23.
1915 Ento Miyamatsu, a Japanese fisherman aboard Rambler was drowned on September 15.
1916 Peter Cruz, camp fisherman killed by a landslide.
1916 Christian Gundersen, camp fisherman killed by a landslide.
1916 Wes Thompson, Eaton employee fell off a bluff at Pelican Bay.
1917 Lodovico Leone (32), died as a result of being kicked by a horse on January 28.
1917 Myron R. Bergen drowned at Pelican Bay off the Sea Wolf on July 11.
1917 T. Nio, Japanese fisherman stabbed at camp at Smugglers Cove.
1918 Tony Salvo fisherman drowned at Gull Island on December 7.
1920 Anileta Angelina Reyes, cook at a fishing camp who drowned in December after Christmas.
1921 John Olivera died of spinal meningitis on February 15.
1922 G. Jose Camarillo died from rheumatism.
1923 Jerry Shively, Island fisherman drowned near Scorpion.
1923 Isaac Newton, Island fisherman drowned near Scorpion.
1924 Mary S. Wilkinson, camper drowned in a skiff at accident at Arch Rock near Cueva Valdez.
1924 Milton Stewart camper drowned in a skiff at accident at Arch Rock near Cueva Valdez.
1924 Dr. Hal Bishop camper drowned in a skiff at accident at Arch Rock near Cueva Valdez.
1925 Helmar Peterson starved in his skiff when it blew offshore.
1928 Chris De Rode, seaman on the schooner Irene, died from injuries filming The Rescue.
1932 Alexander MacDougall Hunter accidentally shot by a companion on the north side of the island.
1933 William “Dutch” Schultz Fisherman drowned off Blue Banks.
1933 Caroline Imboden (40) Committed suicide by hanging on the east end of the island.
1939 Fred “Kangaroo” Peterson (53) Died in his shack at China Harbor, probably of alcoholism.
1949 Capt. Jess Thierry (27) Pilot died in a plane accident March 2.
1953 Ross Smith Diver off the Bonnie Lee drowned when his mask slipped off April 22.
1961 Regino Vital Cruz SCICo employee fell from horse at Christy and died of his injuries.
1962 Samuel Velasquez SCICo employee died in a truck accident.
1964 James C. Wilson father who, along with his three sons, went missing on a boating trip to the island on May 2.
1966 Wallace Bassett (49) Pilot, died in a plane accident flying in to Christy Ranch on March 8.
1966 Gordon Ridge hunting guide killed in a plane accident flying in to Christy Ranch on March 8.
1966 Ted Shatt (27) hunting guide killed in a plane accident flying in to Christy Ranch on March 8.
1966 John R. Russell hunter killed in a plane accident flying in to Christy Ranch on March 8.
1966 Jack L. Wheeler (33) hunter killed in a plane accident flying in to Christy Ranch on March 8.
1966 John Gilbert hunter killed in a plane accident flying in to Christy Ranch on March 8.
1966 Claude Casey hunter killed in a plane accident flying in to Christy Ranch on March 8.
1966 Raleigh Wallace (59) Pilot, died in a plane accident leaving Christy on the same day, March 8.
1968 Edward G. Bell (25) Camp guide, drowned off Albert’s Anchorage May 4.
1968 Maurice Rothstein (47) drowned while skindiving on August 4.
1970 Beverly Wight (28) drowned while SCUBA diving on November 8.
1971 Arthur Garbini (49) Hunter hit by a plane wing at Christy February 10.
1972 Charles Kern (23) drowned at Santa Cruz Island in March.
1972 Lt. Daniel W. Still (29) Pilot, died in a plane accident near Diablo June 9.
1973 Byron Blom (32) Student fell from a cliff to his death near Willows on April 8.
1975 Larry Greenlee Drowned when Gladys I sank off Yellowbanks on June 2. Two survived.
1979 James Oppen (59), attorney found shot aboard his yacht, Chronic Bitcher on August 21. Suicide was determined.
1979 Timothy Wallace Brown Biology professor died of a heart attack at the UC Field Station Aug. 31.
1980 ? Hunter died of a heart attack.
1981 Verna Jo Roehler (36) Murdered by her husband, Frederick Roehler, anchored at Scorpion January 2.
1981 Douglas Johnson (8) Murdered by his step-father, Frederick Roehler, anchored at Scorpion January 2.
1983 Sisenando ‘Andy’ Palma (55) Navy employee died of a heart attack February 28.
1985 Andy Gordon (27) drowned near Hungryman’s Gulch in a SCUBA accident August 26.
1986 Henry C. Duffield, Jr. (65) Ranch manager committed suicide by gun November 23.
1987 unidentified diver (45) drowned SCUBA diving off the western side of Santa Cruz Island on May 31.
1987 Carey Stanton (64) Island owner died of heart stoppage December 8.
1989 Robert McLaughlin Drowned at age 15 in a SCUBA accident off Fry’s Harbor on July 12.
1990 Thomas Barrett (61) Oklahoma attorney fell from a cliff at Pelican Bay September 9.
1993 John Karaka (39), drowned while SCUBA diving at Santa Cruz Island February 13.
1993 Sang Gyu Choi (30) and six others drowned in the sinking of the fishing vessel, Vil Vana on April 9.
1993 William Choi (17) and six others drowned in the sinking of the fishing vessel, Vil Vana on April 9.
1993 Donnie Watkins (41) and six others drowned in the sinking of the fishing vessel, Vil Vana on April 9.
1993 Benjamin Jordan (24) and six others drowned in the sinking of the fishing vessel, Vil Vana on April 9.
1993 Dan Pelton (33) and six others drowned in the sinking of the fishing vessel, Vil Vana on April 9.
1993 unidentified and six others drowned in the sinking of the fishing vessel, Vil Vana on April 9.
1995 Charles Greenberg (45) TNC guest died of a heart attack at the Main Ranch September 5.
1995 Omar John Joly, Jr. (31) drowned while diving off the island August 13.
1996 Oscar Urzua (45) drowned while SCUBA diving off the island December 2 [?].
1996 ? Boater fell from a cliff at Tinkers Cove.
1997 Diane Kunst (44), drowned while SCUBA diving off Peace at Potato Rock on July 27.
1997 Howard Guy Lubin (54), was found floating offshore near Scorpion Ranch on December 27. [See note below]
1998 Daren Cornelius (32), drowned while SCUBA diving at Santa Cruz Island on October 10.
21st CENTURY DEATHS
2005 Grace Wang (26) Taiwanese kayaker drowned at the east end of the island on May 29.
2006 Michael Caligiuri (48) fisherman drowned in the wreck of the 5G's out of Santa Barbara harbor on July 11.
2006 Joseph Breck (45) fisherman drowned in the wreck of the 5G's out of Santa Barbara harbor on July 11.
2007 Stewart Hindley (64) Drowned in a Truth Aquatics SCUBA diving accident off Vision on July 10.
2008 John M. Wagner (43) Hit his head and drowned while surfing.
2009 Thomas Pruner (49) Hiker died of heat stroke hiking from Prisoners to Scorpion October 16.
2010 Trevor Correia (22) Camper (baseball pitcher’s brother) fell off a cliff at Potato Harbor May 8.
2010 Frank Cipriano (45) drowned off a dinghy near Eagle Reef in August.
2010 Kristopher Carlsen (27) SCUBA diver drowned diving for lobsters near Fraser Point December 5.
2011 Jiajuang Zhu (38) Diver off the Conception drowned on the south side Santa Cruz Island.
2012 Sophorn Bun Sieng (37) Drowned when their 24-foot pleasure fishing boat capsized offshore March 10.
2012 Edgar Isnec (54) Drowned March 10.
2012 Ramiro Duarte (52) Drowned March 10.
2012 Jose Juan Perez (37) Drowned March 10.
2012 Andres Martinez (64) Drowned urchin diving at Kinton Point June 25.
2012 Terrell Horne (34) Coast Guardsman run over and killed in panga bust at the east end Dec. 2.
2012 Christopher Mondiek (23) Camper taking photos fell from a cliff near Yellowbanks December 18.
2013 William Arlo Ooms (59) Diver drowned off a 22-foot boat at Ladys Harbor
2018 Steve Anderson (51) Hiker died of a heart attack returning from Scorpion Harbor on the Island Packer boat on May 3.
In the News~
June 1, 1987 [LAT]: “Two men died in separate scuba diving incidents. Lifeguards said Frank Sporer, 65, of Bakersfield was dead on arrival at the USC Marine Center's hyperbaric chamber on Santa Catalina Island, after he lost consciousness after a dive at the Isthmus. And a 46-year-old man died after being airlifted to the hyperbaric chamber at Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks from the western side of Santa Cruz Island, where he lost consciousness after surfacing from a dive.”
December 28, 1997 LAT]: “SANTA CRUZ ISLAND. Autopsy Planned on Body Found in Ocean. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday in Santa Barbara on a body found floating in the ocean off Santa Cruz Island near the Scorpion Ranch. A fisherman discovered the body about 8 a.m. Saturday near the Scorpion Anchorage at the southeast end of the island. The area had been closed for the past few weeks after an overnight storm dumped 11 inches of rain, flooding the Scorpion Ranch campground. Historic buildings were knocked off their foundations or destroyed, and officials estimated damage to the ranch at up to $1 million. As a result of the damage and a fear that subsequent storms could threaten property and lives, the superintendent of Channel Islands National Park, Tim Setnicka, closed the ranch to the public. Only recently has the ranch been reopened for day use, and Setnicka said the body probably is unrelated to the storm. "This is very strange," Setnicka said. "No one was reported missing to us." Ken Bortolazzo of Santa Barbara discovered the body, said Santa Barbara Sheriff's Sgt. Jim Peterson. Bortolazzo notified the park service ranger on Santa Cruz Island, who contacted the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department. That agency has jurisdiction over four of the five islands in Channel Islands National Park. "We always treat something like this seriously," Setnicka said. "The Sheriff's Department is clearly better suited to follow up on this kind of thing." The Coast Guard cutter Point Carew, based at Channel Islands Harbor, was on routine patrol in the area Saturday, and the crew retrieved the body about 9:15 a.m. Crew members took the body to Santa Barbara Harbor, and sheriff's deputies delivered it to the Santa Barbara County morgue. Authorities could not determine whether the body was that of a male or female. They hope the autopsy will shed light on the person's identity and cause of death. "The body was unidentifiable due to being in the water for up to two weeks," said Peterson. The only clothing on the body consisted of remnants of blue jeans and a boot, Peterson said. Authorities said it did not appear that the person met with foul play.”
December 31, 1997 [Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department News Release]: “Coroner's detectives today positively identified a body found floating off Santa Cruz Island on Saturday, December 27, 1997. Howard Guy Lubin, age 54, and a resident of Dana Point, was identified by dental charts and other items found in his possession. Lubin was reported missing on December 9, 1997 by his girlfriend, Sharon Jaye. She reported to the Orange County Sheriff's Department that Lubin was missing from his residence and that he left a suicide note. A search of the area found his vehicle parked at the Dana Point Harbor, and is vessel, a six-foot Achilles inflatable boat with an outboard motor was missing. Also missing from Lubin's residence was a large caliber handgun. That night the Orange County Sheriff's Department and the U. S. Coast Guard began a search around the harbor and waterways with negative results. His boat was found the next morning unoccupied approximately ten nautical miles south of Dana Point. Lubin was in the water for nineteen days until a local Santa Barbara fisherman spotted him floating near Scorpion Anchorage on the southeast edge of Santa Cruz Island last Saturday morning. His body was recovered by the Coast Guard and taken to Santa Barbara harbor where Santa Barbara Sheriff deputies took custody of him. U. S. Coast Guard personnel determined that the ocean currents were consistent with a body traveling this distance in this amount of time. An autopsy conducted this morning revealed that Lubin died from a single gunshot wound to the head that appeared to be self-inflicted. The weapon has not been recovered.”