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Body recovered off Santa Cruz Island identified as missing Ventura County man

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND, Calif. - The body of a diver who was found off Santa Cruz Island in November was identified Wednesday as a Ventura man who went missing in 2020.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office said Ryder Sturt, 31, was first reported missing on November 29, 2020.

His body was recovered in the Seal Cove area of Santa Cruz Island on November 11 of this year.

Crews recovered the body after two divers had reported possibly seeing a body near the ocean floor in an underwater cave system earlier in the month. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Underwater Search and Recovery team, as well as the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Special Bureau were involved in the recovery efforts.

Sturt was diving off the coast of Santa Cruz Island in 2020 when he was reported missing.

At the time, investigators said he was out with another person tank diving for lobster, but his diving partner said Sturt never came back to the surface.

Crews searched the area for him, but at one point had to call off the search due to poor diving conditions.

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Lindsay Zuchelli

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