Dead body found in Hope Ranch

Search and rescue crews yesterday recovered a dead body from a ravine in Hope Ranch, near the spot where a missing 89-year-old Mesa woman was last seen about a month ago.

However, a Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department spokesman said the body had not yet been identified. He said emergency crews could not even determine if the body was male or female.

The body was found at 2:30 p.m. by a gardener who ventured into the ravine to check on a water pump, the spokesman said. Search and rescue crews hoisted the body up the steep embankment at about 5 p.m.

The spokesman said the body could be positively identified sometime today.

On June 27, Metta Thomson, 89, who authorities said suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, wandered away from her home in the 3300 block of Cliff Drive. After scouring the Mesa area, searchers turned their attention to Hope Ranch, where a person reported seeing a woman who matched Thomson’s description.

Despite an extensive search, police failed to find the woman, though dogs tracked her scent to an area near Hope Ranch Lake. Divers scoured the lake for evidence, but found no trace of the woman.

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