8-Year-Old Dead After Being Swept Into the Ocean

HCSO Humboldt County Sheriff's OfficePress release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

On 04-21-18, at approximately 3:15 pm, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an eight year old female that had been swept into the ocean after jumping into the waves on the ocean side of Big Lagoon. Deputies along with personnel from Cal Fire, Bureau of Land Management, California State Parks, Orick Fire Department, and the United States Coast Guard all responded to the scene.

At approximately 4:00 pm, the USCG located the juvenile approximately one mile south of where she entered the water. She was flown to a local hospital where she was later pronounced deceased. This investigation is ongoing and the cause of death has not been determined. An autopsy has been scheduled for later this week.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

Earlier Chapter8-Year-Old Girl Recovered From Ocean in Big Lagoon Area



  • Prayers for the family.

  • So sorry, prayers to the family

  • One of the hardest lessons to teach the kids was that even as beautiful as the ocean is, it is THAT dangerous. I am so sorry for this family.

  • So sorry to read this, prayers going for her Family ♡♡♡

  • The parents will forever wonder if she could have been saved if they’d gone in the water. It’ll be a lifelong torture.
    RIP little girl.

    • Well, I certainly hope that is not the case! Had the parents jumped in to try to save her, there would surely just be more loss to this poor family. It’s happened before, with people jumping in to save a dog and then followed by more jumping in to save the person who jumped in after the dog, and all are lost. I pray the parents know and understand that once their precious baby was swept into the sea (especially at this particular beach), that there was nothing they could have done but call rescue personnel. They, sadly, but surely, did all they could. My sincere and earnest prayers are with them at this horribly tragic time.

  • Are there signs posted about the sneaker waves in this area. It’s a well known fact for locals but some are unaware. If there isn’t we need to work on getting them up. Prays go out the family of this lol angel.

  • This seems to be the same place where the Kuljian family was lost: http://www.times-standard.com/article/zz/20121126/NEWS/121129433

    I knew the girl lost yesterday and Howard Kuljian, both were special people. I would like to get a sign to warn of the dangers at that beach and others. It seems that the beach at Big Lagoon is particularly dangerous. Any ideas as to where to start to advocate for such a sign?

    • I would think either the California State Park’s or Bureau of Land Management. Not only signs but maybe also a kiosk showing and explaining what sneaker waves are.

    • There are signs posted out on the beach and also at the restroom, and where you pay the day fee. I see them Everytime I go there. Unfortunately people don’t realize the currents there all the time even if the Ocean looks calm. My husband saved a teenage boy from drowning at Big Lagoon about 7 years ago. He barely BARELY got them both out alive! Prayers go out to this family…

  • I grew up near the ocean. As young as 8, my brother and I played tag with the ocean, running in and out of the waves. Our mom used to yell at us to be careful and to not get too close but, honestly, as a child I never felt like I was actually in danger. Even at 8, I felt big and strong. I even felt like I was a faster runner than the oceans waves. I didn’t even know how to swim. Mostly I thought our mom didn’t want us to get soaking wet and get into the car. I heard of the danger but as a free spirited, curious child I never believed it as something that was real.
    As an adult who now watches the children in our family closely at the beach, I keep in mind that they probably don’t sense the real danger that I do, even if they promise me they will not run in or get too close. They think I’m overly causous but, I know I must be close enough to grab them if they lose their footing, fall down, or the waves rush up.
    It’s heartbreaking that this beautiful child lost her life doing what every child loves to do, jumping and playing at the beach near the ocean. This is my worst fear. I know there is probably no words that can comfort this grieving family at the worst time in their lives but, my heart breaks for you. I’m so sorry for what you are going through.

    • I too came close to disaster as a child in the ocean, even with a very diligent mother watching. Once under the water, it is very hard to find a child.

      My sympathies to her family. It’s a hard blow.

  • What is going on?

    Why does this article make it sound like an 8 year old just cruises down to big lagoon and does whatever it wants until its dead?
    Where the fuck is the supervision by the parental units?
    Where are the parents?

    • Another fishwife

      This article just reports what happened, not the circumstances. You made the assumption all on your own without knowing the facts surrounding the incident. Assuming often makes an ass out of the assumer.

  • So very sad!

  • I believe it was also the Scott Family who lost their lives at Big Lagoon. ?There is a sign but at one end as I recall. Not a safe place to go near the water. Perhaps more signage both in the form of visual icons and writing should be viewable along that stretch. My sincere sympathy to that young soul’s loved ones. 🙁

  • They need signs up that say don’t play in the water there. I’ve grown up playing in the ocean, surfing, skimboarding, etc. Many people don’t realize big lagoon beach and a few of the other surrounding beaches have way bigger shore break and a much stronger undertow than other more kid friendly beaches such as moonstone or luffenholtz. We just went to Patrick’s Point with our 4 year old and 8 year old today and the shorebreak at agate beach was huge. I wouldn’t necessarily blame the parents. Many tourists and even locals who don’t go to the beach all that often assume all beaches are the same. Feel so bad for the family. I don’t know or even want to think about how I’d handle that….

  • M…
    Thank you so much for the words you shared. So many jump to judgement, impulsively. Your words are so true, and the feeling of compassion comes through in such a good way.
    Sending prayers of comfort to this child’s loved ones. May they fill their hearts with only the joy she has shared through her life♥️ Blessings…🌟

  • So sorry for this family’s loss.

    I also think there should be a sign at Big Lagoon and perhaps Dry Lagoon. Not so much focused on sneaker waves. I’ll bet people would disregard that as rare or only on stormy days, even though that is not true. Instead talk about the death toll and label the beach as unsafe for playing in or near the surf at all times.

  • Allowing your kids in the ocean at all is not being “very diligent.” I won’t say more.

  • Certain beaches are super dangerous. Locals know which ones. It’s almost always the same beaches every time. Steep drop past the shore makes for deadly waves (maybe some other features too) . Also, it’s always the same river spots that seem to get people every year (Kimtu in willow creek comes to mind). Signs would be a good idea since big lagoon is an easy stop for tourists on 101.

  • Unfortunately we were there to witness this and, I am so saddened to hear this was a child. My prayers and condolences to the family… I can even imagine.

  • Chris Dugaw, you’re rt, there needs to be several HUGE signs at Big Lagoon Beach. There’s a really stupid one at one parking lot that goes to great lengths to describe how dogs are safer in the ocean than people bec of how their paws are constructed. This went up after the tragedy of the Kuljian family. It could be more explicit: NOBODY should go into the ocean at Big Lagoon Beach. There are sneaker waves, riptides & a powerful undertow.
    I asked a State Park Ranger why there were no decent signs since so many people have died at that particular beach. He said, different govts: county. state & feds, have jurisdiction over it & they can’t agree. That’s ridiculous. And tragic.

    • I plan to put serious energy into this. I know it won’t be easy, but big clear signs are needed. This is not a beach to play at the water’s edge, let alone go into the water.

      • I am also interested in helping to get a rescue station at big lagoon with life rings and rope.
        At least there would be a chance of saving someone.

  • hear that bell some one just got her wings

  • I was raised on the San Francisco Peninsula. The coastal beaches there are very much like they are here. Every summer my extended family would gather for a barbecue at a small ranch my Grandfather bought. Almost directly across the highway was a State owned beach that we could access via a private pathway. One year, my aunt-in law decided to take a swim, ignoring the severe undertow warnings of the entire family. Why? She had competed in the summer Olympics the previous year and was a very strong swimmer. It didn’t take long and she was in trouble. The adult members of the family then started a rescue operation that had been planned (and used) years before by the people of the area. They formed a chain and quickly reached her and pulled her in. From then on, we only “dodged waves”. Never getting wet above the ankle bone.

  • If your going to play or be close to the ocean check the forecast before going. If it’s a steep beach then it’s not a place to go in the water. The swells and wind in the afternoon the last few days do not equate to playing on the beach near the surf. Respect the ocean and its power.

  • One thing I’ve noticed since living in southern CA is there are lifeguards. I know northern CA doesn’t have beach turn out like we do but why no lifeguards. Maybe certain dangerous areas should be off limits to folks. It’s very sad to hear about anyone drowning. Having grown up in that area I have been to those beaches mentioned here. Esp. loved looking for agates at agate beach. Condolences to her family.

  • Its A Pitty, Prayers To The Family

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