The bodies of two people found inside a vehicle at the bottom of an Angeles National Forest mountainside were recovered and in the coroner’s office Thursday but there was no public confirmation that they are a young couple reported missing a week ago.
The vehicle was located at 5:12 p.m. Tuesday, 1,300 to 1,500 feet down a steep mountainside off the Angeles Crest (2) Highway near Mile Post Marker 71.5, according to California Highway Patrol Officer M. Rogers. The recovery was completed Wednesday.
The preliminary investigation revealed the vehicle was eastbound at an unknown speed when the driver “either caused or allowed (the vehicle) to veer to the left, where it impacted a dirt berm, causing it to subsequently overturn multiple times down a steep mountainside,” Rogers said.
The coroner’s office has not confirmed the male and female found in the vehicle were Ethan Manzano and Sophie Rayanne Edwards, both 19. They were visiting friends in the Newcombs Ranch area but left around 1:30 a.m. July 1 to drive home to Apple Valley. They never arrived. The couple were planning to move to Colorado over the Fourth of July weekend.
Manzano was reported to have “an unspecified mental condition,” according to Deputy Shawn Du Busky of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
The make and model of the recovered vehicle was listed as “unknown” in the CHP’s press release. The vehicle Manzano and Edwards were in was described as 2007 Isuzu Ascender.
While waiting for a positive identification, the couple’s friends and family feared the worst.
“I can’t believe I’m going to be burying my son. He was only 19,” Manzano’s father, Al, told reporters Wednesday.