A FRIEND of the 30-year-old woman who went missing over the summer said she “evaporated” within 10 minutes when she ventured out into the desert.
“There was a 10-minute window there, and she evaporated,” Cody Orell, Lauren Cho’s friend, spoke of Lauren Cho days after she disappeared from Yucca Valley in California. She had gone on a solo hike and was last seen alive there on June 28.
WITHOUT FOOD, PHONE, OR WATER
According to Orell, he hung back in a converted tour bus at around 3 pm that day, but when Cho didn’t return and left behind her phone, water, and food – he started to look for her.
“I searched all in the hills and no tracks, anywhere,” Orell told the Hi-Desert Star.
WHERE ARE CHO’S TRACKS?
The sheriff’s report Orell rang various friends before he called authorities at 5:13 pm after last seeing Cho vanish from the Ben Mar Trail.
As they looked for Cho, they couldn’t find any trace.
“They found all of my tracks and my friends’ tracks, but none of hers,” Orell shared his story with the publication.
Cho, known to her friends as “El” and is an artist, a black belt, and a chef, reportedly walked into the hills between Yucca Valley and Morongo Valley.
DRONES AND DOGS
Authorities are tirelessly trying to find Cho, a New Jersey transplant who recently relocated to sunnier pastures.
The woman, known to be a talented soprano singer, fled the east coast to join Orell in a converted tour bus, winding up in a ghost town turned artist’s commune called Bombay Beach on the edge of California’s inland Salton Sea, the Independent reported.
In July, authorities dispatched K-9 units and flew up to the rescue.
“On July 24, 2021, Sheriff’s Department fixed-wing aircraft conducted aerial searches of the remote mountain terrain near the scene,” the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department reported.
A week later, “seven canines searched the last known location where Cho was seen and surrounding unincorporated areas for evidence.”
Search and rescue teams have also relied on drones, helicopters, and search parties on foot to search the surrounding areas for any sign of Cho.
According to reports, Cho’s car, computer, and phone are accessible by the police.
Little information is available surrounding the case of Lauren Cho.
A Facebook group was launched, giving people a forum to share any tips or sightings.
It is a reflection of how Cho is remarkable to so many.
According to one post: “El is many things… a talented musician, an incredible baker, a hilarious and loyal friend, a strangely intuitive gift giver, and probably the most incredible sister one could hope for…
“But this is where El shines: as an aunt.”
Cho’s parents have maintained touch with Korean news outlets and churches along the West Coast to grow the search.
It’s unknown if the authorities suspect any foul play in Cho’s disappearance.
But a Facebook page post acknowledges the haunting comparisons with Gabby Petito’s initial missing case – that has now tragically become a murder mystery.
It reads: “We realize that on the surface, the public information for both cases shares some similarities. We can understand your frustration about why some cases get national coverage.
“Ultimately, these two cases are not the same, and the differences run deeper than what meets the public eye. We empathize deeply with Gabby’s family and hope that both our cases bring forth positive resolution.”