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Lauren Cho Found: Heartbreaking End To Search As Remains Identified

Lauren Cho Missing Woman Body Found Identified Remains

Heartbreaking news in the case of Lauren Cho.

The human remains found in the California desert nearly three weeks ago have been identified as the missing 30-year-old.

The New Jersey native’s case came to national attention after the spotlight on the search for Gabby Petito. Lauren’s case bore certain similarities to the more famous one, in that she had left her ordinary life to go on a cross-country road trip adventure, she disappeared in the wilderness, and the last person to see her was someone she had been dating.

Related: Gabby Petito’s Father Wants Everyone To Focus On Preventing Domestic Violence

Lauren — or as her friends knew her, El — had accompanied then-boyfriend Cody Orell in his tour van all the way from the East Coast to California, where she was quickly making friends and finding success as a chef.

On June 28, according to Orell, she walked into the desert by herself in the middle of the afternoon, with no gear, while “suffering from mental distress.” And she just… never came back. The early search, which included aircraft and dogs, was pared down after a lack of success. However, the extra attention on the case led to a redoubled effort — which, unfortunately, led to the discovery on October 9 of human remains in the Yucca Valley.

On Thursday, after weeks of examination, the coroner division of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department announced it had positively identified the human remains. It was El.

Knowing for certain will help the Cho family, who have been tortured waiting on the ID for nearly three weeks, on top of more than three months since her disappearance. Her sister told CNN on at the time of the body being found:

“The family is just holding our collective breaths. We so badly desire answers but already feel the heartbreak of what the answer could be.”

But there are still questions to be answered. We don’t even yet know the cause or manner of death, which the Sheriff’s Department says is pending toxicology results. The department stated:

“No further information will be released on this case until such time toxicology results are available and new information is discovered as a result.”

There’s probably no answer which will be satisfactory for El’s loved ones, but no answer at all is worse. We just hope they can feel some sort of closure now.

We are so, so sorry for their loss.

[Image via Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Department.]

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Oct 28, 2021 18:05pm PDT

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