By JOSH FRIEDMAN
Crews on Thursday morning found the dead body of a hiker who went missing near Gaviota Peak during intense heat on Sunday.
Search and rescue teams from San Mateo County located the body of 29-year-old Ventura man Tim Sgrignoli at 9:29 a.m. between Trespass Trail and Highway 101, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. No foul play is suspected in Sgrignoli’s death, and heat was likely a contributing factor.
The cause and manner of Sgrignoli’s death are pending, sheriff’s officials say.
Sgrignoli went missing after his girlfriend showed signs of heat exhaustion on the way down Trespass Trail from Gaviota Peak. Sgrignoli, who had hiked the trail before, left her to get help and water. He gave his girlfriend the phone they were sharing on the trail and pinged her location to a phone they left in their car at the trailhead.
The woman used the phone Sgrignoli left her to call for help. At about 2 p.m., a Santa Barbara County helicopter airlifted her off the mountain. Crews hoisted her to safety before realizing Sgrignoli was missing.
Initially, officials said Sgrignoli may have been picked up and given a ride. A passerby reported possibly seeing Sgrignoli walking south on northbound Highway 101.
The Santa Barbara County Volunteer Search and Rescue Team, as well as emergency personnel from numerous agencies, participated in the nearly five-day search for Sgrignoli. On Monday, approximately 60 emergency personnel and multiple dogs were taking part in the search. Crews were also using utility terrain vehicles, drones and helicopters.
After Sgrignoli went missing, his mother, Dianne Sgrignoli-Cullimore, put out a call for help on social media. Dozens of volunteers, including relatives and friends of Sgrignoli, then joined the search.
Sgrignoli moved to California from Florida with his girlfriend. Sgrignoli was a high school valedictorian, and he attended the University of Florida, his mother said.