Deputies remove man’s body from back country; wife remains hospitalized

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ESCONDIDO, Calif. – Investigators were able to recover the body of a man who was found alongside a severely dehydrated woman in a remote area of Warner Springs, according to San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office has the body and will investigate the cause of death.  Sheriff’s department investigators do not believe foul play was suspected in his death.

An intensive two week search for 79-year-old Cecil “Paul” Knutson and 68-year-old Dianna Bedwell ended Sunday afternoon in this remote part of the Los Coyotes Reservation. Los Coyotes Police Chief Sossaman said a group of off-roaders discovered a vehicle with the couple inside.

“It’s in probably one of the most rugged areas of the reservation. Nobody ever goes down there.  It’s a real 4-wheel drive road,” said Sossaman. “Some off-roaders contacted our tribal police officer Rob Martino and told him there was a vehicle down off a road back in the reservation and a subject man was unconscious and a lady was sick in the vehicle she needed medical aid.”

When the couple was found, Knutson was dead and Bedwell was severely dehydrated. She was airlifted to Palomar Medical Center and is expected to survive, police said.

“We loved him so much and I can’t even begin to understand the grieving process,” said Robert Acosta the couples son.  “There is no doubt in my mind that my dad kept my mom alive…He was a marine and a hero.”

“It looks like they were surviving on rainwater. There were cups around, they were drinking rainwater, as it rained and they’d been out there since May 10,” said Sossaman.

The Fullerton couple was last seen on surveillance video leaving the Valley View Casino on May 10 around 2 p.m. They were expected at their son’s La Quinta home for Mother’s Day but never arrived.

Police say they somehow got stuck on a shortcut about 25 miles from the casino.


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