Search continues for O.C. rapper
Woman hopes fiance swept away by Kern River is still alive.
It’s been four days since friends and family members have seen an Orange County rapper who was swept away by dangerous currents in the Kern River.
“We still have faith he is alive,” Erica Zambada said.
Zambada last saw her fiance, Michael Ramirez, about 5 p.m. Thursday after they had spent the day at the Keyesville Campground in Lake Isabella. They were camping with friends and celebrating Ramirez’s 27th birthday, which was June 19.
Ramirez, who goes by Dossicc, is a member of the underground hip-hop group Rebellion Warfare. The group has performed with Immortal Technique, Raekwon, Aesop Rock and Method Man.
After the friends set up their tents and began preparing a meal, Ramirez took a swim to cool down.
“The weather was crazy hot — it was 115 degrees,” Zambada said.
As she dipped her feet in the river, Ramirez threw a rock in to check its depth, and then dove in.
Ramirez struggled to stay afloat and was pulled under, she said.
The couple’s friend, a bandmate, tied a rope around his waist and jumped into the water to reach Ramirez. But an undercurrent swept Ramirez away, Zambada said.
About 10 minutes later, rescue teams with the Kern County Sheriff’s Office arrived and searched the river until sundown.
Ramirez, a Buena Park resident, was not found.
Zambada said authorities have not done enough to find Ramirez and have essentially given up.
Sheriff’s officials did not respond to requests for comment.
She said more than 70 friends and relatives have been looking for Ramirez. They purchased a large map of the area and split into small groups.
So far, the groups have covered seven miles of the 165-mile river.
After a remarkably wet winter, the river, known as the “Killer Kern,” has been treacherous this year.
As hot temperatures roast parts of California this summer, melting snow from the Sierra Nevada has begun to trickle into the state’s rivers and reservoirs. The result is a fatal mix of swift currents and frigid water temperatures, officials said.
Six people have drowned in the river so far this year, the Bakersfield Fire Department said. Since 1968, 280 people have drowned in the river, the agency said.
The recent deaths and dangerous water conditions have triggered warnings from multiple law enforcement agencies.
Last week, the Bakersfield Fire Department urged Kern River visitors to keep out.
“The Kern River is hazardous for those not properly trained in special water navigation techniques or not accompanied by trained river guides,” the department’s alert said. “The sections of the Kern River flowing through metro Bakersfield may look calm and inviting, but the force is shocking, unexpectedly powerful and can overcome the strongest swimmers.”
Zambada said she is seeking volunteers to help search for Ramirez, whom she described as an experienced camper.
“He is a survivor,” she said.
MICHAEL Ramirez, aka Dossicc, was on a camping trip last week.