SANTA MONICA—Zachary Zernik, 22, was confirmed dead on Thursday, February 2, after his body was discovered in the Santa Monica Mountains, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. He was last seen by his family five days prior.

On Monday, January 30, Zernik was reported missing after not showing up for work. On February 1, Ventura County Sheriff’s located his vehicle near a trailhead in Thousand Oaks, prompting search efforts in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Zernik’s truck that was located.

At 9 a.m. on Thursday, Zernik’s body was located in Boney Mountain State Wilderness Park. His death appears to have been accidental with no evidence of crime or foul play, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office released in a statement. 

“Yesterday was a very tough day for the team – we were saddened to find Zachary Zernik  deceased  – many of us have children around the same age,” the Ventura County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team posted. 

Zernik, of Thousand Oaks, became an Eagle Scout in 2018 and loved the outdoors. He graduated in 2022 with a bioengineering degree from University of California, Los Angeles. His bio on his Instagram account reads, “Moorpark College Wrestler. Forklift driver. Hard Worker.” 

Zernik’s cause of death will be determined by the Medical Examiner’s Office pending an autopsy.

Zernik and family as his high school graduation.

He is survived by his parents, Fred and Elizabeth Zernik and his sister.