Search for missing NJ Lauren Cho continues as Petito case sheds light on missing people
The family of a missing New Jersey woman named Lauren “El” Cho renews calls for help in locating the 30-year-old after the disappearance and homicide of Gabby Petito brought nationwide attention to other cases of missing persons.
Cho was last seen on June 28 around 5 p.m. walking away from a home in Yucca Valley, Calif., A town in the Mojave Desert east of Los Angeles.
“We fully appreciate the love that continues to be shown to El,” Cho’s family wrote in a September 18 Facebook post on a page dedicated to sharing information about Cho that could lead to her discovery. “We deeply sympathize with [Gabby Petito’s] family and hope both of our cases lead to a positive resolution. Anyone know something. About El, Gabby … “
The account, created in early July, appears to be managed by a brother who calls Cho after his “sister”.
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Cho’s family were not making any official statements at the time of publication, and her family have no official representation to speak on their behalf.
“The investigation has been a priority for the department since Ms. Cho’s disappearance,” San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department Chief Information Officer Mara Rodriguez said in a statement to Fox News Digital on Thursday.
A search was conducted shortly after her disappearance and the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department executed a search warrant on July 31 at the 8600 block of Yucca Valley’s Benmar Trail with seven K-9 searches. The department carried out an aerial search of “remote mountain terrain” where she was last seen on July 24, according to the sheriff’s department.
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Cho was staying at an Airbnb resort in the Morongo Valley “with many other guests, including her ex-boyfriend,” Rodriguez said.
“It was reported that on the evening of June 28, 2021, Cho was distraught and presumably wandered away from the complex, leaving behind her personal belongings,” the chief information officer added. “About three hours later, Cho was reported missing by her ex-boyfriend, and he said she was in mental distress.”
Investigators from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Specialized Investigations Division are assisting the Morongo Basin Station in its continued efforts to locate Cho and have conducted “several searches of the area by land, air and canine with negative results.” , said Rodriguez.
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Local media Hi-star of the desert identified Cho’s former boyfriend as Cody Orell. Orell told the outlet that he and Cho had traveled across the country together to Yucca Valley in a van and was the last person to see the 30-year-old before she left. .
“I looked for everything in the hills and no trace, nowhere,” Orell told the Hi-Desert Star. He also suggested Cho get into a vehicle at some point and not get lost in the wilderness.
“On Sunday she was going out to meet someone and not saying who. I didn’t insist then, but, of course, now I wish…” Orell said before stopping, according to the outlet.
Another friend of Cho’s, Jeff Flake, said in a July 24 Instagram post that the first week after the 30-year-old disappeared, there was “a search and rescue operation, with a huge amount of incredible professionals here, combing the desert, helicopters, volunteers, trackers” and that “the conclusion they came to was that they did not believe that El had gone on foot, for they could not find a single trace of his.”
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Yucca Valley is located in the 50,000 square mile Mojave Desert east of Los Angeles and the San Bernardino Mountains and west of Joshua Tree National Park. The valley is sparse and dotted with Joshua trees, Mojave Yucca plants, juniper bushes, Pinon pines, and other native plants. Wildlife in the area includes poisonous snakes and coyotes. He is not uncommon for those missing in the Mojave Desert.
In recent weeks, the disappearance and homicide of Gabby Petito, 22, has made national headlines as law enforcement continues to search for the only person of interest in her murder, fugitive Brian Laundrie. Petito’s family established the Gabby Petito Foundation after his death to help parents search for missing children and victims of domestic violence.