An SUV that two teens were traveling in when they went missing in the Angeles National Forest last week was found crashed off the forest highway with two bodies inside Tuesday, officials said.
Authorities were waiting for coroner’s officials to identify the bodies to confirm if the deceased were Sophia Rayanne Edwards and Ethan Almero Manzano, both 19.
However, Manzano’s father said he felt the two were dead.
“I can’t believe I’m going to be burying my son,” Al Manzano said. “He’s only 19.”
The teens’ families became concerned when they both failed to show up for work Friday.
“This has been a very difficult time for our family, but we were able to get through this because of everyone’s kindness,” said Cheyenne Chassie, Edwards’ sister.
The pair was last seen Thursday in a silver 2007 Isuzu Ascender traveling near the area of mile marker 51 of Angeles Crest Highway about 1:30 p.m. on July 1, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Investigators believe Manzano was driving the Isuzu, which was found off the side of the highway near mile marker 71 around 2 p.m. Tuesday.
California Highway Patrol will lead an investigation into the crash, sheriff’s officials said.
Chad Keel, a Wrightwood resident who is a survivalist instructor, discovered the vehicle using his personal drone. He said he was with a group searching the hillside and happened upon a “disturbance.”
“It was faint,” he said, but a few people “slid down there” and started seeing pieces of the SUV.
“The car was — dissipated is the best word,” Keel said. “It wasn’t really a car anymore.”
He said they found a backpack they believe was Edwards’ that was turned over to authorities.
According to the Sheriff’s Department, Manzano suffers from an unknown mental health issue.
Mile marker 51 is located near the Chilao campground and visitor center and not far from the historic Newcomb’s Ranch restaurant.
Anyone with information can contact the Sheriff’s Department at 323-890-5500. Those who prefer to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.