Search con­tin­ues for O.C. rap­per

Woman hopes fi­ance swept away by Kern River is still alive.

Los Angeles Times - - CITY & STATE - By Veron­ica Rocha veron­ica.rocha @la­times.com

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.

Erica Zam­bada

MICHAEL Ramirez, aka Dos­s­icc, was on a camp­ing trip last week.

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