Wednesday, 12 June 2024

REGIONAL: Abalone diver found on Sonoma coast identified

SONOMA COUNTY – The body of an abalone diver found on the Sonoma County coast on Sunday has been identified.

On Monday, Sonoma County Sheriff detectives positively identified the diver as 43-year-old Brett Shoji Uchiyama of Santa Cruz.

Uchiyama's body was found in the ocean by another abalone diver on Sunday at about 7 a.m. near Timber Cove Reef Campground, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office reported.

Officials reported that Uchiyama disappeared while abalone diving near the Reef Terrace portion of Fort Ross State Park on April 29.

He was diving with a friend who heard Uchiyama yell for help. The friend began diving in the area where he last saw Uchiyama, but he was unable to find Uchiyama in the rough water that had poor visibility, according to the report.

California State Parks officers, Sonoma County Sheriff's deputies and the sheriff's helicopter began an extensive search for Uchiyama to no avail. The search continued for Uchiyama for the next several days, officials said.

Preliminary results from an autopsy conducted Monday at the Sonoma County Coroner's Office indicated that Uchiyama's cause of death was probable drowning. He had blunt force head injuries consistent with hitting rocks in the rough waters of the ocean.

The final cause and manner of death will be determined once all toxicology and laboratory reports are completed, which could take several weeks, officials said.

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