Mill Valley teacher accused of child sex crimes found dead off Drakes Beach

The fog rolls in along the coast at Drakes Beach in Inverness, California on December 13, 2019. (Photo by Philip Pacheco / AFP) (Photo by PHILIP PACHECO/AFP via Getty Images)

A Mill Valley teacher facing child sex crime charges was found dead Wednesday after authorities recovered his body from the waters off Drakes Beach.

The Marin County Sheriff's Office said that at approximately 5:33 p.m., a search and rescue team located the body of 55-year-old Darren Michael Smith floating in the water.

The day before his death, Smith had been arrested on suspicion of lewd and lascivious acts with a child and continuous sexual abuse of a child.


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His arrest followed a report made by the Mill Valley Unified School District on March 28. Smith had been a teacher in the district since 2013, but was placed on administrative leave after they became aware of the allegations.

Smith's body was recovered near Drakes Beach after a 911 caller reported around 2:36 p.m. on Wednesday that a surfer may have been swept out to sea.

The surfer was last seen around 10 a.m., and his surfboard washed ashore at the beach around 1 p.m.

Search and rescue teams were dispatched to the area. They discovered Smith's body in the water, about 2.5 miles northwest of the Drakes Beach Parking area.

"The subject was recovered by U.S. Coast Guard Helicopter and was unconscious, unresponsive, and exhibited signs of physiologic death," the Marin County Sheriff's Office said.

The county coroner will determine the cause and manner of his death.

"The subject had been recently arrested and was facing filed criminal charges," the sheriff's office said.