Orange County

Cause of Missing Woman's Death Undetermined: Autopsy

An autopsy performed on the body of a missing Laguna Hills woman found in a Southern California forest this week showed no obvious signs of trauma and lists her cause of death as "undetermined," sheriff's officials said Wednesday.

Erica Alonso vanished after going on a Valentine's Day date with her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Orange County sheriff's officials said. The 27-year-old was last seen alive in the early morning hours of Feb. 15 after an argument with him at his Irvine home.

She would have turned 28 in March.

A team of biologists with Caltrans discovered Alonso's body Monday night one mile east of a US Forest Service Station in San Juan Capistrano along Ortega Highway in the Cleveland National Forest.

Alonso's cause of death is "undetermined" based on the autopsy, Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock said Wednesday. Her body showed "no obvious signs of trauma," and toxicology tests were being performed.

Alonso's father Isaac said on Tuesday he is convinced she was murdered, and is hoping for justice.

"I want someone to pay for this. I want the one who did this, I want him to pay for what he did," he said.

Isaac Alonso said he came within a few hundred yards of finding his daughter's body during his own searches.

The night she disappeared, Erica Alonso and her date befriended a couple at the Sutra Lounge Nightclub in Costa Mesa. The group went to Erica Alonso's boyfriend's home in Irvine, where she and her boyfriend got into an argument outside, officials said.

The other couple left about 3:45 a.m. Erica Alonso left the home about 15 minutes later, and there was no trace of her since, Hallock said. 

On March 25, Erica Alonso's white 2014 Honda Civic EX was found near Cedarbrook and Redwood in the Glenwood Park neighborhood, which is about a mile from her home, Hallock said.

At the time of her disappearance, investigators said all statements by the boyfriend "checked out."

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