Missing SLO man found dead at Montaña de Oro was a Cal Poly student

Michael Kullman, 21, of San Luis Obispo was found dead at Montaña de Oro State Park on Friday after an overnight search.
Michael Kullman, 21, of San Luis Obispo was found dead at Montaña de Oro State Park on Friday after an overnight search. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

A late night search for a missing man at at Montaña de Oro State Park Thursday came to a tragic end just after midnight, when State Parks rangers found the body of Michael Kullman in a remote area.

Kullman, 20, grew up in Arroyo Grande and lived in San Luis Obispo as he attended college at Cal Poly. He was an industrial technology and packaging major, president of the Industrial Technology Society, a metals fabrication lab technician and involved in his local church, according to Cal Poly officials and a LinkedIn profile.

Details of what happened have not been released publicly as the Sheriff’s Office continues its investigation. Investigators do not believe the death was a result of foul play, according to a news release issued by the Sheriff’s Office on Friday.

A family member reported Kullman missing on Thursday afternoon, and a search began when his car was discovered at the state park near Los Osos, according to sheriff’s spokesperson Tony Cipolla.

Deputies were called to the scene at 4:24 p.m. and a ground and air search began soon after, sheriff’s officials said.

Residents in the area reported multiple patrol cars and a CHP helicopter searching the area late into the night. Watch Commander Michael Manuele said their efforts were focused on an area known as the “Octopus Tree.”

News of his passing prompted an outpouring of social media comments offering his family condolences, as well as a campus-wide email statement from Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong and Vice President of Student Affairs Keith Humphrey, recognizing the great sadness.

“The university is in contact with Michael’s family to offer our support, and our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time of grieving. As we return to campus in the new year, let’s take the time to come together in community and remember Michael,” the email says.

The email also reminds students that counseling services are available for Cal Poly students 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling 805-756-2511. Counselors are available for Cal Poly employees by calling a 24-hour support hotline at 800-367-7474.

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Lindsey Holden writes about housing, North County communities and everything in between for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. She became a staff writer in 2016 after working for the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. Lindsey is a native Californian raised in the Midwest and earned degrees from DePaul and Northwestern universities.