Lauren Cho

Coroner Identifies Remains Found in SoCal Desert as Missing NJ Woman Lauren Cho

The remains were found in rugged terrain near where the 30-year-old New Jersey resident was staying during a trip to California

Getty FILE - A drone view of the Long Canyon hiking trail in Desert Hot Springs, which connects to the Yucca Valley, Feb. 24, 2021. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Remains found in the desert of San Bernardino County were confirmed to be those of a 30-year-old New Jersey resident who disappeared earlier this year in the area. 

The San Bernardino County Coroner’s Division positively identified the human remains as Lauren Cho. The cause and manner of death are pending toxicology results, the agency said.

The remains were found in early October as the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department conducted an additional operation in the ongoing search for Cho, who was reported missing on June 28, 2021. The remains were found in a rugged part of the desert east of Los Angeles in the community of Yucca Valley, near where Cho disappeared. 

Investigators said Cho walked away from the home where she was staying in the 8600 block of Benmar Trail in Yucca Valley at 5 p.m. on June 28, according to the Morongo Basin Sheriff's Station, the station leading the search. 

Her image was circulated by the station when she was reported missing.

Multiple searches were carried out in Yucca Valley, located just outside Joshua Tree National Park.

Cho’s story gained renewed interest during a debate over racial disparities in coverage about missing persons, including the late-summer disappearance of Gabby Petito. Friends and relatives launched a Facebook page to raise awareness after Cho vanished. 

Cho lived in New Jersey, but was traveling in California when she went missing.