Missing Couple Found Dead Near Hiking Trail in Big Bear Area

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Sheriff's homicide detectives responded to Fawnskin to investigate the deaths of a man and a woman on Feb. 3, 2020. (Credit: San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department)

Sheriff’s homicide detectives responded to Fawnskin to investigate the deaths of a man and a woman on Feb. 3, 2020. (Credit: San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department)

A missing man and woman were both found dead near a trail in the Big Bear area, authorities said Tuesday.

The bodies of 29-year-old Paul Arthur Stockwell Jr. and 27-year-old Ria Gabriella Williams were discovered Monday afternoon on the Cougar Crest Trailhead, approximately one-half mile into the forest, according to a news release from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. The location is in Fawnskin, an unincorporated area of the county near Big Bear Lake.

Williams, a resident of Santa Ana, was last seen on Jan. 29 in Big Bear with her boyfriend Stockwell, who lived in the area, the release stated.

A coworker reported Williams missing two days later when she failed to show up for work.

Stockwell’s father reported him missing as well at some point, though the Sheriff’s Department did not specify when.

“Neither of the missing person reports indicated any suspicious circumstances or reason to suspect foul play,” the sheriff’s release stated.

Around 2:15 a.m. Monday, deputies who were searching for the missing couple found a vehicle belonging to Williams in the parking area near the Cougar Crest Trail, according to the release.

They requested help from another deputy and K-9 Dare to search the trail and surrounding area. The bodies were located around 1:30 p.m., officials said.

Homicide detectives have responded and are investigating the deaths. An autopsy will be conducted to determine how they died.

No additional details were provided.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s Homicide Detail at 909-387-3589. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through WeTip by dialing 800-782-7463 or by going to www.wetip.com.

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