UCSB student dies in apartment house fall

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — A 22-year-old UC Santa Barbara student died Thursday after falling over a second-story railing at the top of an Isla Vista apartment stairway, Santa Barbara sheriff’s deputies said.

Mellissa Portillo of Los Angeles had suffered a head injury but was responsive about 1 a.m. when deputies found her lying outside the Cordoba Road apartment near an injured 22-year-old man, Michael Kuster. She was pronounced dead after being taken to a nearby hospital, however, authorities said.

Kuster, who is not enrolled at USCB, suffered head and back injuries in the incident slightly before 1 a.m. He was hospitalized in stable condition, said officials.

Alcohol may have been a factor in the pair’s fall; there was no indication that foul play was involved.

“It was just a stone-cold accident,” said sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Thielst.