Two people were found dead inside a crashed car linked to two California teenagers who have been missing for nearly a week, authorities said.
Officials in Los Angeles County have been on the hunt for Ethan Manzano and Sophia Edwards, both 19, since July 1, when they were last seen driving a 2007 Isuzu Ascender near Angeles Crest Highway in the Angeles National Forest, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.
At 2 p.m. on Tuesday, authorities discovered the Ascender over the side of the road off the highway with two bodies inside, the statement said. Officials are waiting on the L.A. County Medical Examiner-Coroner to positively identify the victims.
“I can’t believe I’m going to be burying my son,” Manzano’s father Al told CW affiliate KTLA. “He’s only 19.”
The Apple Valley teens, who were dating, were last seen in the Angeles National Forest, where they left a friend’s house around 1:30 a.m., according to KNBC.
“The friends said their demeanor was normal, nothing out of character for them,” Det. Matthew Pereida of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Missing Persons Unit told the outlet. “They were an affectionate couple. They had a great time.”
Edwards’ father Jeremy said the couple was planning to move to Colorado over the July 4 holiday weekend.
“I was going to go Friday morning and load up their furniture in my truck and caravan to Colorado on Saturday morning,” he told KNBC. “They seemed excited about the idea. They had friends in Colorado they were planning to move in with.”
Family members grew concerned when the teens did not show up to work on Friday, KTLA reported.
Their crashed car was discovered Tuesday thanks to a personal drone belonging to local survivalist instructor Chad Keel, who said he also found a backpack belonging to Edwards.
“The car was — dissipated is the best word,” Keel told KTLA. “It wasn’t really a car anymore.”
Pereida said investigators have considered that the car may have accidentally driven off of the winding mountain road, which he said is surrounded by trees and not entirely protected by guard rails, KNBC reported.
“This has been a very difficult time for our family, but we were able to get through this because of everyone’s kindness,” Edwards’ sister Cheyenne Chassie told KTLA.