Gabby Petito case draws renewed attention to Lauren Cho’s disappearance
Widespread national media attention on murder of 22-year-old Gabby Petito has led to a resurgence of interest in other missing persons cases that have received much less coverage.
Among them is that of Lauren Cho, a 30-year-old Asian American from New Jersey who was last seen on June 28 in a remote area of the California desert.
Cho was living with his friend and former partner, Cody Orell, in his converted bus in Morongo Valley, Calif., Authorities said.
Orell told police Cho got angry and walked away from their bus without her phone, water or food. When Orell and his friends couldn’t find her, they called to report her missing.
Authorities searched the area for a week using planes and dogs, but found no trace of Cho.
According to the Hi-Desert Star newspaper, she was working as a private chef for a friend’s Airbnb in Yucca Valley.
Orell told the newspaper that Cho had gone to meet someone the day before she disappeared and believed she may have been picked up by that person.
“On Sunday she was going out to meet someone and not saying who,” Orell said. “I didn’t insist on it at the time, but of course now I wish [I did]. “
Earlier this week, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office announcement that its specialized investigation division would assist local MPs in the search for Cho.
The renewed interest in Cho’s disappearance comes amid national media coverage of the Petito case – as well as media criticism for not covering similar cases involving people of color.
A viral tweet posted after Petito’s body was discovered on Sunday urged Twitter users to inquire about Daniel Robinson, a 24-year-old black geologist who went missing in the desert near Buckeye, Ariz., in June.
Robinson’s jeep was found in a ravine about four miles from where he was last seen.
Robinson’s father hired a private investigator and launched a Change.org petition in an effort “to make sure this matter is taken seriously” by the Buckeye Police Department.
Late last week, police released a statement saying they had used ATVs, helicopters, drones and cadaver dogs as they searched for Robinson over more than 70 square miles.
“Buckeye Police continue to analyze the evidence and explore leads,” the statement said. “Anyone with information that can assist in resolving this matter and ending the Robinson family is urged to call the Buckeye Police Department.”
Petito, whose body was found near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on Sunday, was reported missing by his parents earlier this month, shortly after her 23-year-old fiance Brian Laundrie returned home after a trip across the country without his.
Petito and Laundrie had spent months touring the national parks in their converted 2012 Ford Transit van, documenting the trip on Youtube and Instagram.
Laundrie was last seen on September 14. Her parents reported her missing three days later.
A federal arrest warrant was issued Thursday against the laundry for unauthorized use of a device and bank accounts without authorization.
Laundrie was not charged in the Petito homicide, but was named a Person of Interest.
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