Santa Barbara- S County

Sheriff's Office releases additional information on death of missing LA fire captain

Body, car found near popular Montecito trail

MONTECITO, Calif. - ---UPDATE 3---

Statement from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office regarding the body found in a Montecito canyon over the weekend:

The Sheriff’s Office is releasing the identity of the decedent located on Hot Springs Trail on August 18, 2018 around 6:00 p.m. in Montecito.  The decedent is 43-year-old Wayne Stuart Habell of Newhall.  The cause and manner of death is a suicide, by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Next of kin has been notified.


---UPDATE 2---

The family of the missing Los Angeles fire captain has confirmed the identity of the body found in the Montecito canyon as Wayne Habell.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Battalion Chief Jason Robertson confirmed that the body located in Montecito Saturday afternoon has been acknowledged by the family.

No other details have been given regarding this case and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office is still investigating.


The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Search and Rescue team located the body of a man believed to be a missing Los Angeles County fire captain Saturday evening.

Crews found the body of a man at about 6 p.m. in a canyon off Hot Springs Trail in Montecito -- the same area where authorities found a vehicle belonging to missing Fire Capt. Wayne Habell a day earlier. 

Multiple resources including search and rescue teams, cadaver dogs, and helicopters are aiding the search for Habell.

The body was taken to the Santa Barbara County Coroner's Office where investigators will work to confirm the identity of the body.

Authorities have been searching for Habell since his 2008 Black Chrysler Aspen was found Friday at 2 p.m. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office says they received a call about a suspicious vehicle that had been parked near the Hot Springs trailhead since Monday, August 13, 2018. 

Authorities say the vehicle's solo male occupant was last seen walking up the Hot Springs trailhead.

The investigation into Habell's disappearance is ongoing.


The vehicle belonging to a missing fire captain out of Los Angeles County has been found in Santa Barbara County.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department tweeted the news of the discovery Friday evening.

Although the vehicle was found, there was no sign of 43-year-old Wayne Stuart Habell, despite a search of the surrounding area by authorities.

Habell was last seen leaving his home in Newhall on Monday, August 13, 2018, at 7:30 a.m, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office.

Habell is described as a white man, 6-feet-tall, 225 lbs, with short brown/blonde hair, green eyes. He was wearing a blue shirt and plaid shorts.

His vehicle is described as a 2008 Black Chrysler Aspen California license plate 6KMB757. A Santa Barbara County Sheriff's spokesperson said deputies located the vehicle in Montecito. 

Anyone with information regarding the disappearance or whereabouts of Habell is urged to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Missing Persons Unit, Sgt. Nava or Detective Abraham at 323-890-5500. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

This is a developing story. Stay with and NewsChannel 3 for the latest information.

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