A Los Angeles couple last seen en route to a camping trip in the desert has gone missing, and LAPD on Wednesday asked for help finding them.
Mariya Mitkova, 27, and Aaron Morganstein, 33, left Elysian Valley, also known as Frogtown, about 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, and have not been seen since, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Described as frequent campers, the couple was believed to have been bound for Joshua Tree National Park or the Imperial Sand Dunes, police said.
A friend said in an email sent to KTLA that the couple planned to go to the sand dunes — east of Brawley in Imperial County, and then planned to camp in Joshua Tree, more than 60 miles northwest of the dunes.
“Masha had a surprise and was planning a trip to go somewhere but destination is unknown,” stated the email, which was sent to KTLA by Morganstein’s mother.
The pair never showed up for work Monday, according to a GoFundMe page that had raised more than $7,500 in a about six hours Wednesday.
“These people are extraordinary, intelligent, kind, unique, and bring joy to so many people's lives. Please help us find them!” the page said.
Police said the couple was traveling in a dark blue Subaru Outback with California license plate No. 6PRH231. The GoFundMe page said the vehicle was from model year 2012 and may have plate No. 7PHK773.
Morganstein’s credit card last made a purchase at a gas station in Cabazon on Saturday, and one of their cellphones had pinged a tower in Rancho Mirage at a time unknown, the friend said in the email.
Rangers and friends have searched in Joshua Tree National Park, which is about 1,200 square miles, according to the friend.
Morganstein's mother Teri Talan, who lives in Chicago, said she was very anxious and may come to L.A. Wednesday night.
"My biggest fear is that they're stuck somewhere, hurt and running out of water," Talan said. "I fear that they're unable to get to help, and they were never planning on being gone this long."
Mitkova is described as white, with blond hair and blue eyes, 5 feet 7 inches tall, and 130 pounds. She was last seen wearing shorts and a white T-shirt with print on it.
Morganstein is white with black hair and brown eyes, 6 feet 3 inches tall, and 180 pounds. He was wearing blue jeans, a brown collared shirt, a gray hoodie and brown hat when last seen.
Anyone with information about them is asked to call LAPD Missing Unit Detective Guevara at 213-996-1800; for afterhours tips, call 877-527-3247. Anonymous tips may be left at 800-222-8477.