Family and friends search for a missing woman in the California desert


When Lauren Cho moved to California from New Jersey late last year, she dreamed of starting over.

The overland trip came at the right time, friends say, because the pandemic attracted them. A change of scenery was tempting and the 30-year-old was happy about the chance to work as a pastry chef. Her Instagram page is filled with her baked creations.

Cho, who friends call “El,” was staying at an Airbnb home in Yucca Valley, about a two-hour drive from Los Angeles and about 12 miles from Joshua Tree National Park, when she disappeared in late June.

Since then she has not been seen or heard from.

National attention on other missing persons cases is interested again in the secret of her disappearance and the search has intensified.

Family and friends want answers. A spokesman for the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department told CNN that it had carried out multiple searches in the past three months. However, despite renewed interest in their case, they have not received any new substantive leads. Here’s what we know

The investigation

The sheriff’s department said Cho’s ex-boyfriend reported her missing about three hours after she disappeared on June 28.

She lived in the Yucca Valley house with friends, including her ex-boyfriend. Friends said she was “excited and likely to leave the resort, leaving her personal belongings,” according to the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department.

Cho is described as 5 feet 3 inches tall, weighs 110 pounds, has black hair and brown eyes. She was wearing a yellow T-shirt and denim shorts when she left the house.

When the sheriff’s department and volunteers combed the area, so did Cho’s friends.

“We drove thousands of miles and tirelessly went to gas stations and posted flyers in the low desert, the high desert,” said a friend, Jeff Frost. “We went to San Diego because the week before she disappeared she said she just wanted to go to the beach.”

Investigators say the ex-boyfriend “reported that she had mental health problems”.

Although the family told CNN they didn’t have an official explanation, they do Facebook site to publish updated information about the investigation and to raise awareness. The site also urges the public to refrain from speculating about the case and Cho’s mental health at the time of her disappearance.

In recent weeks, Law enforcement agencies came put to the test for the extensive resources that have been sought Gabby Petito and her fiance Brian Laundrie. Petito’s remains have been found in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. A coroner later ruled that her death was murder.

Cho is among several other people who disappeared this summer. But Cho’s family released a statement in mid-September quoting that the cases were different.

“We recognize that on the surface, the public information for both cases shows some similarities. We understand the frustration many of you have expressed about how and why certain cases are being handled nationwide.

Ultimately, these two cases are NOT the same and the differences go deeper than what is publicly perceived. “

Who is she?

Cho’s sister told CNN that Cho was “a dynamic, tough guy who is creative and fun”.

“She is super caring, very loving and just a really loyal and good friend,” said her friend Len Gherardi.

Before moving to California, Cho worked at Gherardi’s tattoo parlor in Flemington, New Jersey.

“The plan was that I would teach her the piercing so she would be my apprentice,” said Gherardi.

It’s been three months since anyone heard from Cho, and the family just wants information about her whereabouts. You continue to post on the Facebook site at least once a week.

“El is a lot … a talented musician, an incredible baker, a funny and loyal friend, a strangely intuitive gift giver and probably the coolest sister you could ask for. But this is where El really shines: as an aunt,” said the family in a Facebook post Last month.

The CNN Wire
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