Divers Body of Missing Teenager Recovered from Castaic Lake

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Posted by on August 06, 2005 at 01:44:03:

The 19-year-old Los Angeles man disappeared Sunday.

The body of a missing 19-year-old man has been recovered from Castaic Lake by Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and the cause of death is still under investigation.
“It’s a criminal investigation,” said sheriff’s Sgt. Rod Kubly of Emergency Services Detail. However, foul play is not thought to be a factor.
At 4 p.m. Thursday, sheriff’s officials, San Bernardino Dive Unit and Los Angeles County lifeguards retrieved the body of Melvin McDaniel, who had been missing since Sunday.
McDaniel, a Los Angeles resident, joined a group of friends and family members for a routine “males’ day out” at Castaic Lake.
At about 1 p.m., the group was setting up its boat when McDaniel jumped into the water and began swimming back and forth.
McDaniel’s sister, Eunika Singleton, said he simply disappeared.
Officials have been searching for McDaniel since Sunday.
“Basically, we had to search a large area,” Kubly said.
Kubly said witnesses were rather vague about where he disappeared in the water, and they made several corrections during the search.
Castaic Lake has a depth of 170 to 150 feet, which made the search difficult.
“You can’t sustain a scuba diver at that depth,” Kubly said. “It can only be maintained for a short time.”
An advanced sonar system was brought in to assist as well as the San Bernardino Dive Unit.
During the search for McDaniel, more than 25 people were combing the lake for him.
Because of the massive size and depth of the lake, officials formed a grid pattern to search the area he was last seen.
“Castaic has a murky flat bottom. The sonar was effective,” Kubly said.
The sonar picks up objects while photographs would be taken for the crew to see.
If something was deemed to be the proper shape and size of a human, a robot was sent down with a camera.
Officials covered the entire area where McDaniel was thought to have disappeared and then, on a hunch, moved farther south.
“It’s amazing how sensitive the sonar is,” Kubly said. “You can tell it’s a human body.”
McDaniel was found 150 feet down, where light and visibility were poor.
The cause of the death is under investigation, Kubly said.
Kubly, whose unit oversees all dive operations for Los Angeles County, deals mostly with family members after a disappearance has occurred.
“It gives them a lot of closure,” he said of recovering the bodies. “It really helps the family.”

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