Human Remains Found In A California Desert Were Identified As Those Of Missing Woman Lauren Cho

Cho's June disappearance was amplified on social media as part of the discussion to highlight cases of missing people of color following the search for Gabby Petito.

Human remains found earlier this month in Yucca Valley, California, have been identified as those of Lauren Cho, a New Jersey woman who went missing in June, the San Bernardino County coroner's office confirmed Thursday.

Cho, 30, was last seen on June 28 around 3 p.m. outside a remote Airbnb on a Yucca Valley trail, where she was staying with friends. Her former boyfriend Cody Orrell is the last known person to see her alive, and he was the one who reported her missing hours after her disappearance.

In an interview with NewsNation, the Airbnb's housekeeper said she believed that Cho and Orrell had been drinking earlier in the day and had an altercation when she attempted to get into a car and drive. Following this confrontation, her friends said, Cho walked into the rugged Yucca Valley desert without food, water, or her cellphone.

Remains were found on Oct. 8 near the area where she went missing. Officials said her cause of death has not been determined, pending toxicology results, according to NBC New York.

A former music teacher, Cho decided to move from New Jersey to the West Coast in early 2021 to pursue her dream of becoming a chef and running a food truck, according to a website set up by her family.

Following the massive media attention given to the disappearance of YouTuber Gabby Petito, TikTok users began using their platforms to highlight missing persons of color.

@robandhaley

Reply to @fromgrandmalabelco Lauren “El” Cho has been missing since June 28. She was last seen in the Yucca Valley area in CA #laurencho #missing

♬ original sound - Haley Toumaian

Cho was one of the cases highlighted amid a wider discussion about "missing white woman syndrome," which describes the contrast in media coverage between the disappearances of white women and those of people of color.

After news of Petito's death was confirmed, her family announced that they were creating a foundation in her name to help families of other missing people and mitigate the disparities in coverage based on race.

In a press conference on Sept. 28, Petito's father, Joseph Petito, said that the attention given to his daughter's disappearance "should continue for other people too."

"This same type of awareness should be continued for everyone. ... If you don't do that for other people who are missing, that's a shame. It's not just Gabby who deserves that."

@jkl888 @Acosta Lauren Cho went missing under similar-ish circumstances and no one has ever heard her name. i’m happy gabbys case is getting lots of attention, but so should lauren’s. https://t.co/ik7PhJgN3k

Twitter: @lyndswilli

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