The 23-year-old woman who died of a drug overdose early Wednesday morning has been identified as Ashley Martel, the granddaughter of well-known former KSBY News anchor Rick Martel.
Although police have not officially released her name, memorial messages began showing up on Ashley’s Facebook page shortly after her death.
Cmdr. John Peters of the Grover Beach Police Department confirmed the name this morning.
Although the toxicology test results have not been returned, Peters said investigators suspect the drug was heroin.
Reached at home, Ashley’s grandmother and Rick’s wife, Stormi Martel, said through tears she couldn’t say much.
“At this point, we’re really in a state of shock,” she said. “There’s not very much we can tell you until we get some reports back.”
Grover Beach police were called to Arroyo Grande Community Hospital about 4:17 a.m. Wednesday to consult with the medical staff on a drug overdose death.
The staff told police the woman suffered an overdose at a residence in the 1200 block of Longbranch Avenue.
Investigators from Grover Beach Police Department processed the scene at the home, while the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff-Coroner’s Department conducted the investigation at the hospital.
Rick Martel was with KSBY from 1980 until 1995 when he left amid a contract dispute with the new owners, then did a short stint as an anchor for rival KCOY.
He was known for his trademark hairstyle as well as his vocals - he sang in local lounges and hosted his own show on local cable TV.