A 22-year-old SBCC student was pronounced dead Sunday morning after a passing jogger found him lying on the beach below the bluffs along Del Playa Drive.

Alex Tapp, a senior global studies major, found Tyler VonRuden lying on the beach below Sea Lookout Park at 9:45 a.m. Sunday. Tapp said he called 9-1-1 after trying unsuccessfully to awaken the man, and the emergency personnel who responded declared VonRuden dead at the scene. Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. spokesman Sgt. Erik Raney said investigators discovered a set of footprints leading to the cliff’s edge and found vegetation that had been dislodged from the bluff above where VonRuden was found, leading them to believe that the victim fell to his death.

The Santa Barbara County Coroner will examine the body Monday, Raney said, and will attempt to determine the specific circumstances surrounding VonRuden’s death, including whether or not he was intoxicated when he fell.

Tapp, who lives at 6772 DP, said he was running on the beach when he first saw VonRuden. Tapp said he initially thought that VonRuden was just sleeping, but sensed that something was amiss when the man did not respond to his calls.

“It was almost like being in a dream,” Tapp said. “As I walked toward him, I knew something was wrong, but I was just hoping …”

Tapp said VonRuden’s body was stiff, and appeared as though it had been on the beach for several hours. He said it was a shock that the body had not been discovered sooner.

“It was the last thing I expected to see at 9:30 a.m.,” Tapp said. “It seems like someone would have found him earlier.”

Tapp said he felt very shaken by the incident.

“It made me so sad that he was all alone, whether someone knew he was there or not,” Tapp said. “I wished there was something I could do.”

VonRuden was the first person to fall off the DP cliffs this year, Raney said. He said one person fell from the bluffs last year, but the fall was not fatal.