L.A. Man’s Body Found in Kern River, Marking 6th Death Since June; 2 Others, Including 11-Year-Old Girl, Still Missing

The Kern River is seen in a photo released by the Kern County Sheriff's Office.

The Kern River is seen in a photo released by the Kern County Sheriff's Office.

Crews recovered the body of a Los Angeles man in the Kern River over the weekend, adding to the number of deaths reported at the river as rescuers continued their search for a second person who had been swept downstream on Saturday and an 11-year-old girl who fell into the water in June.

A total of six bodies have now been recovered in the river in Kern County in 2019, all since June, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Angela Monroe confirmed.

According to the department, officers on Saturday responded to a call about a man floating in the river near Keysville around 1:40 p.m.

Kern Valley Search and Rescue arrived at the scene to recover the body of a 31-year-old L.A. resident, identified on Monday as Xavier Americo Jovel Aguilar.

Later Saturday, just before 7 p.m., deputies returned to the site following a report of a second man who fell near the mouth of the canyon and was swept downstream, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The search for that person, a 32-year-old Chino resident, continued Monday, officials said.

A second victim, an 11-year-old Bakersfield girl, also remained missing after she plunged into the water on June 22, Commander Avery Simpson said.

Another L.A. man drowned in the Kern River in late July. Five others have been found dead in the water since June: Two cousins from San Bernardino, ages 16 and 19, a 22-year-old from Placentia, and a 20-year-old from Sylmar.

“This isn’t an uptick, though we did have really high snow pack and water flow,” Monroe told KTLA, noting that 16 people died in the river in 2017.

“We have a sign at the mouth of the canyon that lists the number of deaths,” Monroe said. “In May, it was updated to 298 since 1968.”

In a statement, the Sheriff’s Office warned that although the water levels have dropped, the Kern River is “still very dangerous.”

 

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