LOS ANGELES - A 20-year-old whose body was found near a wrecked car along Highway 1 in San Luis Obispo County was identified Wednesday as a young woman from North Hollywood who went missing alongside her boyfriend.
Olivia Hannah Gonzalez was positively identified, according to a spokesman for the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office. Her family has been notified by Los Angeles police, the spokesman said.
A tan-colored sedan was located Tuesday afternoon some 325 feet down a cliff near Ragged Point, in a rugged area about 10 miles north of the famed Hearst Castle in San Simeon, according to the California Highway Patrol. The location is near the southern end of the Big Sur coastal area, KTLA reported.
Gonzalez and 21-year-old Brian Fernandez had not been seen or heard from since Dec. 23, the day they left for a weekend getaway in Big Sur. Two dogs were apparently with the couple at the time.
They were due back on Christmas but never returned home.
Other than Gonzalez's body and that of a dog, no other remains have been found as of Wednesday afternoon.
The vehicle remained at the scene overnight, a CHP officer told KTLA, saying recovery efforts were resuming Wednesday.
Gonzalez’s sister, Vanessa Guzman, told KTLA on Tuesday that she had received a call from CHP officials in San Luis Obispo saying they found a car, but were still working to confirm whether it was the 2002 four-door Honda Civic sought in the search for the missing couple.
In an interview Wednesday, Guzman broke down in tears as she described the moments after learning a vehicle had been found amid the search for her sister and her sister's boyfriend.
"Yesterday when I was driving ... I didn't even know what to do, I had to drive home. I was trying to race to get to my mom before she heard the news on TV," she recalled.
"When I heard this, I just pulled up and I took off my shoes, and I ran upstairs and grabbed my mom, because ... that's our baby, that's our baby," Guzman said, sobbing. "My sister was like my daughter to me ... and this is heartbreaking right now to go through this, not knowing and still waiting."