The human remains discovered in Yucca Valley, Calif., on Oct. 9 have been positively identified as missing Korean American woman Lauren “El” Cho, officials announced on Thursday.
Case update: The disappearance of Cho, a 30-year-old woman from New Jersey, prompted a months-long search and sparked renewed debate about how missing people of color get little coverage compared to their white counterparts.
- “The cause and manner of death is pending toxicology results,” the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department said in a statement.
- “No further information will be released on this case until such time toxicology results are available and new information is discovered as a result.”
- The remains were located in “the rugged terrain of the open desert of Yucca Valley” and then transported to the county coroner, according to the sheriff’s office.
The search: Cho was last seen on June 28 leaving her home in distress in Yucca Valley, where a search warrant was issued on July 31.
- Cho was traveling cross-country and stayed at an Airbnb house with her friends and boyfriend, who filed a missing person report three hours after she disappeared, the sheriff’s office told CNN.
- Friends told officials that she was “upset and presumably walked away from the resort, leaving behind her personal belongings.”
- A Facebook page and website were created to share updates on Cho’s case.
- “We want answers. Lauren ‘El’ Cho is a talented musician, vocalist, chef, baker, artist, photographer, former music educator and former piercing apprentice,” a statement on the site reads. “She is the most loving, caring and loyal aunt, sister and friend, and the most hilarious person you could ever meet. And we cannot give up on her.”
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Specialized Investigations Division is assisting the Morongo Basin Station with an ongoing investigation.