A 20-year-old Mission Viejo woman has turned up dead in Santa Barbara County.
The body of Kayla Hallee was found Tuesday in the ocean near Refugio State Beach's Tajiguas Beach, according to sheriff's officials up there.
Someone spotted a body floating in the water around 2 p.m. and called the U.S. Coast Guard, whose cutter Halibut retrieved the body and turned the case over to the county coroner's office.
The coroner later identified the body and notified the next of kin.
A cause of death is pending, and investigators say they are still trying to determine what she was doing in the area and whether she might be connected with an abandoned kayak that was found several miles away near Vista Point that same morning. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office at 805.681.4100.
Hallee's profile on the Meetup.com Sunset Hikes and Random Fun in Orange County page might offer some clues. Though the group is based in Mission Viejo, Hallee gives her town as Santa Cruz, where she might be a student.
“I am a young college student who is looking to spend my free time reconnecting to nature and having fun!” she write, adding that she likes to hike as “[c]lose to trees and beach as possible.”
Trees line the beach at Refugio.