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Search underway for Casmalia man last seen hiking near Vandenberg AFB

Posted at 1:01 PM, Jun 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-15 00:03:14-04

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a Casmalia man who disappeared after going on a hike last weekend.

Robert Brusstar, 68, was last seen south of Casmalia on Sunday, June 9, walking southbound on trails that border Vandenberg Air Force Base.

A couple of days later, when he didn’t show up for work, Brusstar’s employer asked the sheriff’s office to conduct a welfare check at his home.

Robert Brusstar


On June 11, deputies checked Brusstar’s home and reportedly found the front door unlocked and his car, keys, wallet, and cell phone were all there.

Sheriff’s officials say deputies began to search a trail Brusstar is known to frequent and called in the sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team and Air Support to help with the search because of the thick brush and rough terrain.

“This is really, really tough topography to search. It’s about six square miles, it’s dense vegetation, it’s mountainous,” said Kelly Hoover, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer.

Along with Vandenberg Air Force Base personnel, they searched for two days and on June 13, they brought in search dogs and deputies on horses to assist.

Mounted units assist in the search for Robert Brusstar. (Photo courtesy Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Office)


Sheriff’s officials say search efforts continue on Friday.

“The concern is, that it was very, very hot those days, on Sunday when he went on that walk, and maybe that something happened while he was on the walk so at this point, there’s a big push to try and locate him,” Hoover said.

Anyone with information on Brusstar’s whereabouts is urged to call the sheriff’s Santa Maria sub-station at (805) 934-6150 or the sheriff’s non-emergency dispatch line at (805) 683-2724. Anonymous tips can be made by calling (805) 681-4171 or visiting the sheriff’s website.