UPDATE: Officials identify Laguna Niguel man who died after diving off Burney Falls

UPDATED: July 10, 2018, 12 p.m.

BURNEY — Officials have identified a man who died after leaping from the top of Burney Falls. According to Shasta County Sheriff’s Office the victim disappeared after hitting the water and never resurfacing. The incident kicked off a frantic search for the victim that last several hours.

Officials later identified 30-year-old, Elliott John Miller, of Laguna Niguel, California as the man who died after reportedly attempting to dive off the 129 foot cliffs overlooking the falls. Miller’s body was eventually found by Shasta County Dive Team members who were summoned to the scene to assist in searching for the victim’s body.

Although witnesses to the fatal dive later said the Miller appeared to have intentionally jumped from the falls, officials have not yet stated if they have ruled out suicide or an accidental fall in the tragic incident.

A postmortem has been performed and Miller’s family has been notified regarding his death, according to sheriff’s officials.

The incident remains under investigation by Shasta County Sheriff’s Office.


UPDATED: July 7, 2018, 12 a.m.

Officials recover body of man who disappeared after diving off Burney Falls

BURNEY — Reports from the scene of a dramatic search for a missing man indicate officials have recovered the lifeless body of the diver. The victim reportedly disappeared after diving into a 20-foot deep pool of frigid water below Burney Falls

Witnesses have reported the victim dove from the 130 foot cliffs after bypassing warning signs and scaling a small fence that surrounds the falls.


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State Parks rangers, Shasta County patrol deputies and Dive Team members, CHP, and other area emergency first responders were summoned to the base of the falls around 6 p.m., after receiving reports that a man never resurfaced after diving from the cliffs overlooking the falls.

Official radio traffic, social media posts from citizens watching the rescue efforts, and others familiar with the search reported that officials found the victim’s body several hours after the search began.

Authorities have not publicly identified the 30-year-old victim or released any information about their ongoing investigation.

This is a developing story that will be updated as new information is released.


ORIGINAL STORY: BREAKING: Officials searching for person who disappeared after diving off Burney Falls

BURNEY — Details are still emerging, but officials are searching for a man who reportedly scaled a small fence and dove from a cliff overlooking Burney Falls. The victim was last seen after diving about 130 feet into a pool of icy, churning water below the falls.

One area resident who works at McArthur-Burney Falls State Park later said they witnessed the person jump, and described the victim as an adult male. The person, who requested to not be identified, described that the missing diver appeared to purposely jump from the cliff overlooking the falls. According to the witness, the incident did not appear to be a suicide or accidental fall.

State Park’s rangers and Shasta County sheriff’s deputies, along with Cal Fire and other emergency first responders, were dispatched to the base of the falls about 6 p.m., after witnesses reported seeing a man attempt to dive from the cliffs overlooking the falls. A CHP aviation crew also responded to the area to aid in the search from above.

Callers reported that the victim, who has not yet been located or publicly identified, never resurfaced after landing in the water.

Rangers quickly arrived at the scene and immediately began search efforts. As the search was getting underway, officials requested additional resources and other emergency personnel to aid in the search.

Despite their efforts, officials were unable to locate the victim and after less than 15 minutes of searching rescuers at the scene requested divers respond to the location to help search for the victim in the frigid water.

Reports from the scene indicate Dive Team members arrived around 8:30 p.m., and immediately began preparing to assist with the ongoing search. While officials and witnesses combed the area around the pool and Dive Team members searched under the water, small groups of concerned citizens and park employees watched the dramatic search and rescue efforts unfold in front of him.

As of this report, neither the victim or his body have been located. Officials are still actively searching for the missing diver and officials have not yet released any information.

In May, 2011, a southern California teenager who had recently moved to the area died after slipping and falling into the water below the falls. He had reportedly been trying to climb up to the cliffs overlooking the falls when he fell.

Reports at the time indicate that after slipping, the 16-year-old tumbled twice and fell face down into the icy-cold water below. He never resurfaced, according to witnesses.

Sheriff’s Dive Team members found the deceased teen about five hours later. His lifeless body was found submerged at a depth of 20 feet near the base of the falls.

This is a developing story that will be updated as new information is released.


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 46, recently moved to Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations, including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook, as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and The Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 – soon to be 15 – grandchildren.


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