On Tuesday, after months of searching for a California woman who went missing, the decomposing remains of a female’s body was found in a wooded area. Police identified the corpse as that of Erica Alonso. An autopsy on the missing woman’s remains was scheduled, which will help investigators determine a cause of death, according to a Fox News report.
According to officials with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, the body of Alonso, 27, was found in a desolate region of the Cleveland National Forest. The precise location of the discovery was near the Ortega Highway, about one mile from the U.S. Forest Service’s San Juan Fire Station.
A team of Caltrans biologists is credited with finding Erica on Monday night in a dry creek bed. While they walked through the forest, they found Erica Alonso’s remains about 10:30 p.m.
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) April 29, 2015
When local news sources reported the finding of a body, Erica’s father, Isaac Alonso, expressed a degree of optimism that it wasn’t his daughter, that she was still alive. He raced to the scene of the discovery, but received the sobering news.
“I just hope it’s not my daughter. I’m going to drive out there. I want to know. I want to find out. I want to find out. Whoever did it, I want them to pay. I want justice.”
Alonso vanished the day after a Valentine’s Day outing with her ex-boyfriend. The two met another couple in Costa Mesa at a lounge. About 1:30 a.m., everyone relocated to Alonso’s former lover’s home. At some point, the other couple left after Alonso and her ex got into an argument. Reportedly, she departed the residence moments later. When she didn’t report to work after two days, her family filed a missing persons report.
Deputies found the woman’s car in Aliso Viejo on March 25. A community of family and friends began an online fundraising to assist in the search for Erica. Additionally, Alonso’s family offered a monetary reward to the public for any information of her whereabouts.
OCSD Lieutenant Jeff Hallock said his office was able to identify the body of the missing woman due to tattoos and other physical features. However, as part of procedure, an autopsy will obtain fingerprint and dental records for comparison. Nonetheless, officials reportedly expressed a degree of confidence that the corpse points to Erica Alonso.
“[There’s] no obvious sign of trauma that we’ve seen so far, but it’s just a very preliminary examination of the body.”
Sources say Erica and her ex have a history of domestic conflict. According to KTLA, the unidentified man filed a restraining order against Alonso, stemming from an alleged incident in November. However, it expired just ahead of their holiday meeting.
Police ask that anyone with information about the death of Erica Alonso to contact them for a confidential interview.
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