YUCCA VALLEY, Calif. (KTLA) – Human remains found in the California desert community of Yucca Valley earlier this month were identified as 30-year-old missing New Jersey woman Lauren Cho, officials announced Thursday.
The San Bernardino County coroner positively identified the remains, but the cause and manner of death were still being determined. More information will be released once toxicology results are available, the department said in a news release.
Cho was reported missing on June 28, after she walked away from an Airbnb home she was staying at, according to authorities. She was on a cross-country trip and was staying at the Airbnb rental 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.
Her disappearance ignited a large search operation, with crews searching for her from the air and the ground, using K-9s and aircraft as they probed the remote mountain terrain. The town of Yucca Valley is near Joshua Tree National Park.
A search and rescue team was looking for Cho on Oct. 9 when they found human remains in an area with rugged terrain in the open desert of Yucca Valley, the Sheriff’s Department said.
“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 read. “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.”