San Diego

Girl's Body Found in San Vicente Reservoir

After five days of searching, officials say they have found the body of a 12-year-old girl reported missing while tubing on San Vicente Reservoir

Search crews looking for a girl missing at San Vicente Reservoir reported finding the child's body Wednesday.

The 12-year-old girl was reported missing Saturday at the Lakeside reservoir that's popular for fishing, water skiing, and personal watercraft use. 

She was wearing a life vest while sitting near the bow of the boat when she fell, officials said. Investigators say as the boat was slowing down, the bow was bouncing and the girl fell into the water. 

The child's life preserver was later found by search teams. 

Late in the evening Tuesday, sonar images located the girl at the bottom of the reservoir, 166 feet below water.

On Wednesday morning, divers were able to retrieve the child and bring her to shore.

Marine Safety Lt. Rich Stropky said the discovery was bittersweet.

The divers were focused on completing the mission to help bring closure to the family, Stropky said.

“This was absolutely a technologically heavy search,” he said. 


Four adults and two children were aboard the boat at the time. It was not powered but moved across the water with the wind and current, officials said.

Shortly after the girl fell in, several adults jumped to find her; one of the adults came back on to the boat to make the 911 call, according to officials.

SDFD lifeguards, San Diego City Public Utilities Department ranger divers and the Lakeside Fire Department helped with the search.

The depth of the reservoir extends beyond 120 feet. At that point, divers said the water becomes murky and there are 15-foot trees and rocks that make searching for the girl a challenge. 

San Diego Fire-Rescue crews deployed sonar devices and remote-operated vehicles. 

The girl was visiting from Canada with several family members, SDPD Sgt. Bryan Brecht said. The couple operating the boat were locals. 

San Diego police towed the boat and launched an investigation into what happened. No foul play was suspected, police said.

The incident was described by James Gartland, Interim Chief of Lifeguards, as a single-vessel accident.

“She was wearing a life jacket,” he said. “The police department is conducting an investigation.” 

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