OCEANSIDE — The body of 28-year-old missing woman Sara “Celeste” Otero was found by law enforcement on Feb. 8 near Camp Pendleton, according to the Oceanside Police Department.
Earlier this morning, Sara’s father Greg Otero shared the news of her death on social media after writing that his daughter “decided that she had had enough of this life,” thanking the community for the outpouring of support over the past 11 days.
“We appreciate all of you, but we ask at this time you don’t reach out to us directly,” Greg wrote. “It’s a little too much to bear at this moment, but we feel your love.”
Jennifer Atenza, public information officer for the Oceanside Police Department, confirmed that Sara’s body was found at 4:08 p.m. on Tuesday at the bottom of a cliff in a restricted training area just west of Camp Pendleton. Law enforcement made the discovery shortly after finding her vehicle nearby at the Vista View Point parking lot, Atenza said.
Atenza told The Coast News there were no signs of foul play but did not disclose a cause or manner of death, deferring a ruling to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office.
“We went to places based off where she likes to go and types of areas,” Atenza said. “We searched high and low. This was kind of a beach overlook area and they went out there to see if she pulled off and camped out there and then they located the vehicle and her shortly thereafter.”
Sara Otero’s story made national headlines over the past several days as media outlets across the world shared her story in attempts to locate the missing woman and bring her home.
Sara was last seen driving her charcoal Subaru Outback at around 8:40 a.m. on Jan. 28 in Oceanside. According to a family member, Sara was staying at her mother’s home at the time of her disappearance.
After running some errands, Sara’s mother returned home to find her daughter had left. When Sara didn’t show up for her shift at the Mission Ave. Bar and Grill later the same day, her family filed a missing person’s report with the Oceanside Police Department.
Friends and family said Sara, a yoga instructor at a Carlsbad studio, was struggling with her mental health over the past several weeks including depression. Attempts to reach Sara by friends and family were unsuccessful over the past 11 days as calls went to voicemail and text messages were not returned.
“Thank you everybody for being a part of her life,” Greg said in his post. “We love you all.”
One friend, who declined to give a name, said in a previous interview Sara was an adventurous spirit and “hippie” who loves the outdoors. She was an animal lover and enjoys hiking and visiting the beach.
The friend said Otero was always willing to lend a helping hand to help others overcome their struggles. The friend described her as a generous person, noting her love for healing, fire dancing and recovery.
UPDATE: This article has been updated to include information from the Oceanside Police Department.