Funeral held for stranded man who died in back country

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WARNER SPRINGS, Calif. — Funeral services were held Friday for an Orange County man found dead in a car in a remote area near Warner Springs in San Diego County two weeks after he and his wife went missing after setting out on a trip to the Valley View Casino.

Services for Cecil “Paul” Knutson, an ex-Marine, were held at Ingold Funeral Chapel in the San Bernardino County city of Fontana, followed by burial with full military honors at Riverside National Cemetery.

Knutson, 79, and his wife of 27 years, Dianna Bedwell Knutson, 68, went missing after leaving the Valley View Casino in Valley Center on Mother’s Day.

Sheriff’s investigators said the Fullerton couple got lost while trying to take a shortcut to their son’s home in La Quinta.

Their 2014 white Hyundai Sonata was spotted two weeks later in a gully off a dirt road at the Lost Valley Boy Scouts Camp in a little-traveled section of Los Coyotes Indian Reservation. They had been alone in the rugged locale, eating what little food they had with them and collecting rainwater to drink.

Knutson was found dead. His wife was alive, but was severely dehydrated, a private investigator for the family said.

Bedwell Knutson was initially admitted to an intensive care unit at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido. She subsequently was transferred to two other hospitals before entering a care facility in the Palm Springs area, according to her attorney, Gloria Allred.

During the funeral service, Bedwell Knutson thanked family and supporters for their efforts during the extensive search for the couple.

“Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your diligence in the search,” she said.