Two dead bodies found in tent at Los Padres campground

June 14, 2013

campgroundSan Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s deputies found two dead bodies Thursday in a tent at a Los Padres National Forest Campground east of Santa Margarita Lake.

Around 2 p.m. Thursday, the Sheriff’s Office received notification of two bodies in a tent at the La Panza Campground. When deputies arrived, they found the bodies had badly decomposed.

The Sheriff’s Office says the deaths do not appear to be suspicious, but it is conducting an investigation.

Both bodies most likely have remained in the tent at the campground for a considerable amount of time.

The Sheriff’s Office is yet to release the identities of the bodies and the manners of death.


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It is so sad that you are assuming that these wonderful people were homeless. They weren’t. They were actually highly educated and amazing friends. It is heartbreaking what has happened, but even more so to see these negative comments. Two people have died and you want to argue about blankets? They could have been your family, friends, or neighbors. Please think before you write.

The La Panza Camp sites are primitive and back at least 5 miles from highway58, it is on public land and in the LPNF, it is in a pristine area yet not near any services… Why would any of the above negative comments be relevant? Where they were has little to do with how they died… The SO is doing all they can to find out what happened….

If the campsite is not having people sign in and out, then they should. They should also put their license plate number down for any vehicle they bring into the park.

This is common sense, and if it had been done, then the people could be immediately identified. The owner of the Toyota minivan can certainly be identified, so the police probably know who died by now.

One person on the Trib suggested that this could be a carbon monoxide poisoning from using a propane heater in the tent.

This is a primitive camp and has limited services, access and response. The camp hosts did their due diligence and their job. Anyone who camps in a primitive camp site should be aware that first you are usually far away from any services, second you should be prepared to be on your own and third you should have let someone know where you were…

There are too many ways in and out of the national forest to make a system of gate houses feasible. I’m going to sound like a conservative for saying this (shudder) but don’t let the government restrict access to YOUR national forest.

Just kidding about the conservative stuff….

“If the campsite is not having people sign in and out, then they should. They should also put their license plate number down for any vehicle they bring into the park.”

I believe that is SOP, there is an iron ranger at each of these primitive camps. You must put down all that information and your money in the envelope…

The cause of death is yet to be determined and until then anything else is just speculation…

I thought about carbon monoxide poisoning. There is a tent heater available that operates with a can of propane…it has no flame and it really works well. Thought this would be a good time to point that out. Open flame in a closed space is very dangerous.


Why don’t you give every homeless person the blankets out of your house? Because who you are suggesting is that Maxine Lewis Homeless Shelter take the blankets off the homeless people already at the shelter, who will follow the rules because they don’t want to sleep outside, or just because it is the right thing to do, and give them to the people who refuse. CAPSLO used to give out blankets. They had stacks, which crowded everyone, but they kept giving them out and the people who took them would leave them in streams, down town, all over, wet, dirty blankets, and then come back and ask for another one the next night, and the next and the next. So the area was so full of trash and the creeks were clogged, and CAPSLO staff and volunteers would go into the creeks, and pull out the blankets and other trash.

Not to mention the cost. Those were donated military blankets, that were given away. Now, there isn’t such a stock because they were all used up. NOW, I have gone to Goodwill and BOUGHT stacks of blankets and given them to the shelter so there were be enough. Cindy, you ought to spend a month at the shelter and find out how much the other homeless, the ones who follow the rules, are troubled by those that don’t.

“Why don’t you give every homeless person the blankets out of your house?”

Aren’t you the noble sarcastic type as if you and only you help out and you just know it all. I do hand out blankets, lots of blankets. They’re nice warm cozy disaster blankets made by Northwest Woolen Mills”. They’re biodegradable and it says right on them “do not launder or dry clean”. If you abandon one of these blankets it will just biodegrade.

Now put that in your pipe, Miss sarcastic know it all Truthfairy.

NWM’s blankets are NOT biodegradable – at least not in our lifetimes. Their most popular blankie (5309) is a blend or 30% wool & 70% synthetic. Still, if you’re using NWM, you’re giving out Blankets! Good stuff there, thank you for that!

So Mature, Cindy.

FYI, Those Northwest Woolen Mills are not biodegradable. Those are the ones that CAPSLO had Truck load delivered, for just that purpose, giving them out to people without beds. BUT they became a pollutant. They take years to degrade, they ended up in every field, stream and anywhere you find homeless people, soggy, collecting dirt, filling up streams. In fact, CAPSLO gave them out to every agency in town that would take them. You probably ended up with CAPSLO blankets and didn’t even know it. So, the only way that your blankets might be degradable is if you put them in YOUR pipe and smoke them.

Just for the record, you are the one, Cindy, who started out sarcastic when you brought up CAPSLO, when they were not even in this article. Sometimes, what you don’t like about someone else is what you hate seeing in yourself. There is a shelter in North County, where these poor people died, but you didn’t blame it on them, you chose CAPSLO. Most people have gone to all of the shelters, including DeVaul’s, ECHO and MLMShelter, and some even Chorro Creek, and Good Sam’s and Santa Barbara. If they are kicked out of one, they usually have problems with all of them. Some people think they are above the rules, and the don’t have to follow them.

Where do you get that these people were homeless? Nowhere in this post nor in KSBY or the trib do they mention homeless…

Second anyone staying in a primitive camp should be self contained and self sufficient, there are no services in 50 miles…

Two people found dead together and “it doesn’t look suspicious”? Did they both leave a suicide note or are they on the do not feed or receive a free blanket CAPSLO list and so they succumbed to starvation and the elements? How could this not be suspicious?

Though I’ve know people who have stayed at state park campgrounds until they found apartments, the La Panza campground is about an hour’s drive from town. The down and out refused by CAPSLO wouldn’t travel that far for a place to sleep.

What’s curious is that the camp host who found them apparently hadn’t checked on them for about a week, according to the story on the KSBY website. The last time I camped there (several years ago, I admit) the host visited daily to check for spark arresters on the dirt bikes and parking passes on the vehicles.

The camp hosts do not come every day, there is an iron ranger to do the self registration and payment.

The forest service is supposed to have rangers cruising the area mainly because of the OHV use and numbers of people. This is what our adventure pass is supposed to be paying for…