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Calif. authorities confirm human remains found in desert belong to missing N.J. woman

Randy Mancini 64 October 28, 2021
Lauren Cho is photographed. (Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Station)

Lauren Cho is photographed via Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Station.

Investigators recovered human remains in a Southern California desert amid the search for a woman who went missing this past summer. Earlier in the month, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department reported remains were found in the rugged terrain of the open desert of Yucca Valley.

Authorities in California confirmed on Thursday the remains found have been positively identified as missing New Jersey woman Lauren Cho, 30. According to police, Cho went missing in June after walking away from an Airbnb she was staying at with friends and her ex-boyfriend.

Cho was reportedly upset and suffering from mental distress before disappearing.

“The fact that she walked away without anything, that’s really a mystery,” explained Callahan Walsh, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “Now, I know there were some talks of mental illness or self harm that were thrown in the way, but normally a person who is looking to self harm or god forbid commit suicide is not going to do it by walking in the desert. That is not a way that most people try to commit suicide. That is something that would take a long time.”

In the meantime, authorities say the cause and manner of her death is pending toxicology results.

Human Remains Located on October 9, 2021, Confirmed to be 30-year-old Lauren Cho

— San Bernardino County Sheriff (@sbcountysheriff) October 28, 2021

Family and friends remember Cho as a loving person, talented musician and incredible baker.

“The pandemic was wearing on her and she had this opportunity to change scenery in her life and go after a dream of cooking,” Len Gherardi expressed. “She is super caring, very loving and just a really loyal and good friend.”

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