Body Found on Hendry's Beach Identified as Montana Man

Body Found on Hendry's Beach Identified as Montana Man title=
Body Found on Hendry's Beach Identified as Montana Man
40 Comments
Reads 17109

Photos by an edhat reader

Update by edhat staff
March 5, 2019

A body found at Hendry's Beach on Sunday has been identified as a 43-year-old man from Montana.

Officials have released the identity of the man as Christopher Charles Petaja. He's an attorney from Bozeman, reports Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

Roger the Scanner Guy reported the body was found around 2:15 p.m. on the rocks below the Douglas Family Preserve. Emergency resuscitation efforts were performed but were unsuccessful. It is unclear if the fall was accidental or intentional, but Santa Barbara Police state there is no evidence of foul play.


Reported by Roger the Scanner Guy
2:20 p.m., March 3, 2019

Report of a possible fall victim from the cliffs at the Douglas Family Preserve, possibly on the rocks below. Full Santa Barbara City Fire Response.

Login to add Comments

40 Comments

Toggle Comments (Show)
a-1558847900 Mar 06, 2019 11:50 AM
Body Found on Hendry's Beach Identified as Montana Man

I think that the wharf has rails/fencing that were installed recently. Douglass Preserve needs something like that. A deterrent, like the fencing on the #154 bridge. The man who died was a lawyer from Bozeman, Montana. I wonder if he came from a family of lawyers. If so, here comes a lawsuit.

behm.jason@gmail Mar 06, 2019 11:26 AM
Body Found on Hendry's Beach Identified as Montana Man

Was this cut and paste photo cause formerly known as Wilcox property/ The DLP isn’t on the Hope Ranch side of “The Pit” which for newcomers is the nickname for Hendry’s Beach and according to the photos the EMR people are set up on the north end of beach break ... As for the people proposing walls and fences, are these the same people that put their dogs feces in the bag and then leave it on the trail for it to majically evaporate out of others plain view as they try to enjoy the outdoor space without seeing your personal trash everywhere ...

a-1558847900 Mar 06, 2019 12:14 PM
Body Found on Hendry's Beach Identified as Montana Man

Behm.Jason - yes, this happened at the Wilcox and we all know what "the Pit" is.... Not sure what this tragedy has to do with complaining about dog poop bags, but thanks for the input. Sheesh!

Ahlia Mar 06, 2019 11:12 AM
Body Found on Hendry's Beach Identified as Montana Man

A friend told me that many years ago she was walking on the beach below DFP with her young daughter & son when a little boy fell from above. They sat w/him for the long wait for help (& his mother to make the long terrified way around to get down to the beach) to arrive. She said he looked like he was "already with the angels". His mother had recently moved here w/her kids & her son thought he could run down what looks like a winding path to the beach. I don't think anyone has ever survived this fall. SO SAD !

biguglystick Mar 06, 2019 10:57 AM
Body Found on Hendry's Beach Identified as Montana Man

No fences at the Wilcox Property, (or DFP, if you prefer) please. If you are dumb enough to go to the edge of high sea cliffs, well, bad things can happen. I'm not calling the person who passed "dumb", but come on, people! Keep your dogs on a leash if they are the kind that get too excited and chase things, and teach your children about the dangers of walking too close to a cliff's edge. The rest of us adults, if we don't know this already we should.

Factotum Mar 06, 2019 10:45 AM
Body Found on Hendry's Beach Identified as Montana Man

Look on the bright side of alleged global warming and sea level rise. Instead of dangerously falling off a cliff, people in the future can just swim away from any ledge mishaps.

Ahlia Mar 06, 2019 10:19 AM
Body Found on Hendry's Beach Identified as Montana Man

I am not a fan of fences but there is one section of DLP that needs, at the very least, a warning sign. I was walking along there w/my young grandkids & suddenly they were joyfully running down what looks like a winding pathway to the beach. I yelled for them to STOP !!! & fortunately they were able to return to me before it was too late. I shakily explained to them how dangerous it was & NOT A PATH TO THE BEACH ! Everytime I see it, I wonder why there is no warning sign ???

a-1558847900 Mar 06, 2019 09:48 AM
Body Found on Hendry's Beach Identified as Montana Man

If we have to save every fool from her or his own incompetence the world is going to go faster down the road to ruin. It is one thing to put up public infrastructure to save others from such mal conduct. Safer highways, for example, protect me from bad drivers who will kill more than themselves. But really, where is the line between individual conduct and public obligation?

ZeroHawk Mar 06, 2019 09:40 AM
Body Found on Hendry's Beach Identified as Montana Man

so we should erect more fences because people and dogs aren't paying attention when they are near the edge? how about...stay away from the edge? Keep your dogs on a leash too. Wilcox property isn't a dog park no matter how much you want it to be. I've hiked and played in this area for 30 years. I too lost a friend on the bluffs. Things happen. People fall. Gravity happens. Sad but no point in erecting fences.

a-1558847900 Mar 05, 2019 01:07 PM
Body Found on Hendry's Beach Identified as Montana Man

The news reports I have read state that the man was walking up to the Douglas Family Preserve, yet the photo shows the observation point near the Boathouse restaurant. There is no access to the DFP from Hendry's Beach. I wish the news reports would clear this up.

pstarSR Mar 05, 2019 06:11 PM
Body Found on Hendry's Beach Identified as Montana Man

look close, the tent is a women and a dog. I thought the same thing, this is the only area a truck can get access to the beach. so thats what they are showing. the later pictures shows them moving towards the wilcox property.

a-1558847900 Mar 05, 2019 01:53 PM
Body Found on Hendry's Beach Identified as Montana Man

I understand your confusion, it's not clear. Agree with the previous reply that the pic just shows where the emergency services got beach access. The fall was east of the slough, below DFP. Watch the video on keyt. There's no way this guy was trying to walk up to DFP at this location, it is a very steep cliff - unless he was way up above the ~30ft rocky section.

tagdes Mar 05, 2019 01:27 PM
Body Found on Hendry's Beach Identified as Montana Man

Don't know what you've been reading but everything is explained right here. The body was on the beach. The initial call sent responders to both the beach and to stand by with Truck 1 at Cliff and Mesa Ln. in case they were needed at DFP as they were unsure of the location at that time. The photo at the lookout is merely showing Harbor Patrol at the only beach access to go east where the body was located.

Luvaduck Mar 04, 2019 09:47 AM
Body Found on Hendry's Beach Identified as Montana Man

The cliffs are unstable--they're slowing eroding away--and rain makes them more so. Doubt there's a practical way to stabilize them, so it behooves us all not to get too close to the edge. I don't know how to get that out to everyone, but for sure, we need to teach our kids.

a-1558847900 Mar 05, 2019 06:15 AM
Body Found on Hendry's Beach Identified as Montana Man

It should be fenced, people and dogs fall off, 1 death is too many... A chain link fence won't obstruct the view but it will save lives. We do it at other parks,would be good to do it here too. Imagine someone falling off a cliff and landing on children playing below, adding to the body count and trauma!

sbguy805 Mar 04, 2019 09:20 AM
Body Found on Hendry's Beach Identified as Montana Man

To others who were on the scene, I want to share something that's helped me process the emotions. Feel them, name them, breathe. Sometimes, images of the scene come to mind. Check in and feel them. Put them into words - "I'm feeling ___". Then breathe them out and let them go their own way. For me, besides sad, there were feelings of horror. Seek mental health help if you need. Best wishes.

Please Login or Register to comment on this.