Lake claims Ojai resident
By Lenny Roberts
Sheriff's Detective Joe Evans
described longtime Ventura County law enforcement officer Alex
Gerard Marquez, 40, as a great police officer and a great guy.
Marquez was pronounced dead Tuesday morning after he apparently
fell out of his fishing boat at Lake Casitas. Following an autopsy
Wednesday the County Medical Examiner's office ruled the death
as an accidental asphyxiation by drowning.
According to Sheriff's Deputy Mike Berg of the Aviation/Search
and Rescue Unit, a helicopter crew was dispatched to the lake
after rangers said that they had located an unoccupied boat with
a fishing pole and related gear adrift.
Once on scene, the flight crew
radioed Casitas rangers for the exact location of the unattended
vessel. That information was relayed to ground-based sheriff's
deputies, firefighters and paramedics, who then staged at the
main marina parking lot.
As nearby boaters directed the helicopter to a possible victim
in an adjacent cove, the flight crew spotted what appeared to
be a motionless body face-down in the water.
Rescue swimmer Scott Norris, who is a certified emergency medical
technician, quickly swam to the victim after being deployed from
approximately 5 feet above the water line, and was unsuccessful
in trying to verify a pulse, according to Berg.
Marquez was then brought the short distance to shore, where he
was loaded into the helicopter and airlifted to the Lake Casitas
marina, where Life Line paramedics confirmed that he was deceased.
Evans said that he worked with Marquez, an Ojai resident, off
and on for the last 10 years before Marquez retired from the
Ventura Police Department.
"I talked to him two weeks ago and he told me he was going
fishing. He was pretty excited about it. It's a pretty sad day,"
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