Human remains found in Yucca Valley amid search for missing woman Lauren Cho

Local news

Human remains were found in Yucca Valley over the weekend as crews were continuing the search for a missing 30-year-old New Jersey woman, officials said Sunday.

A search and rescue team was looking for Lauren Cho, who has been missing since June, when they found unidentified human remains on Saturday, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

The remains were spotted in an area with rugged terrain in the open desert of Yucca Valley.

It’s still unclear who the remains belong to. The county coroner’s office will work to identify the remains and determine a cause of death — a process that could take several weeks, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Cho was reported missing on June 28, after she walked away from a home she was staying at in the 8600 block of Benmar Trail, according to authorities.

Since then, investigators have searched for her from the air and the ground, using K-9s and aircraft as they probed the remote mountain terrain.

Cho was on a cross-country trip and was staying at an Airbnb home with her friends and boyfriend, who reported her missing about three hours after she disappeared, the Sheriff’s Department told CNN

She was “upset and presumably walked away from the resort, leaving behind her personal belongings,” officials told the news outlet.

Family members created a Facebook page to share updates on the search for Cho, who friends call “El.”

A post on the page described Cho as a “a talented musician, an incredible baker, a hilarious and loyal friend, a strangely intuitive gift giver, and probably the coolest sister one could hope for.” 

Cho’s disappearance gained nationwide attention as one of the cases involving people of color that don’t get enough attention while the search was ongoing for Gabby Petito, a 22-year-old white woman who disappeared while on a cross-country trek with her boyfriend before her body was found at a Wyoming national park.

Cho’s family said on Facebook that the two cases are different.

“Ultimately, these two cases are NOT the same and the differences run deeper than what meets the public eye,” a post on the Facebook page to find Cho reads.

Anyone with information regarding this case is urged to contact Detective Shaunna Ables at the Morongo Basin Station at 760-366-4175. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-27463.

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