Funeral services were held Friday for an Orange County man who died after being stranded with his wife in a remote area of San Diego County while trying to take a shortcut to visit their son on Mother's Day.
Cecil Knutson, 79, was found dead May 24, two weeks after he and his 68-year-old wife Dianna Bedwell left Valley View Casino Center en route to their son’s house in La Quinta, some two hours away.
Their children pleaded for help finding them, but the couple was not discovered until off-road enthusiasts spotted their disabled Hyundai Sonata stuck on boulders in a very rugged area with no cellphone reception, authorities said.
They had become lost on a unmaintained road in a remote part of the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation, close to Warner Springs (map). The location was miles from a good road that a vehicle without four-wheel drive could easily navigate.
Tribal police were called to the location. Knutson was dead when first responders arrived, and Bedwell was severely dehydrated but conscious. Both suffered from diabetes.
Authorities said it was a miracle Bedwell survived. They had oranges, a pie and rainwater from passing storms, according to a San Diego County Sheriff's Department lieutenant.
She was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition, and remained under medical care until recently.
"Thank you for your prayers," she said at the funeral service at Ingold Funeral Chapel in Fontana.
Knutson, who served in the U.S. Marines, was buried at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside.
"I had a wonderful husband. I'm sure going to miss him," Bedwell said at the cemetery. "We're going to be together again someday."
The couple, who had met at a casino in Las Vegas and were married 27 years, lived together in a mobile home park in Fullerton.
The family is being represented by celebrity attorney Gloria Allred.