UPDATE NO. 4, APRIL 30, 11:26 A.M.: “As the family mourns Erica Alonso, a memorial fund has been set up on GiveForward,” says Jay Foot, the online company's director of communications. Visit https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/3st7.
UPDATE NO. 3, APRIL 30, 9:12 A.M.: The sheriff's department has positively identified the body discovered in Cleveland National Forest as Erica Melissa Alonso, KTLA just reported.
UPDATE NO. 2, APRIL 29, 3:09 P.M.: An autopsy performed on a body believed to be Erica Alonso's today discovered no obvious signs of physical trauma and the cause of death remains “undetermined,” according to the sheriff's department. “Sheriff's Investigators continue to examine information and process evidence collected throughout the investigation,” says Lt. Jeff Hallock, the spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department and its Coroner's Division. “Fingerprints were collected during the autopsy and are currently being matched with Cal-ID records to officially confirm Alonso's identify. Confirmation is expected later this evening or tomorrow.”
UPDATE NO. 1, APRIL 29, 5 A.M.: A woman's body found Monday night in a remote area off Ortega Highway in the Cleveland National Forest near San Juan Capistrano has been preliminarily identified as Erica Alonso, according to the sheriff's department. A group of biologists working for CalTrans contacted deputies around 10 that night to say they had discovered a decomposed body in a rugged area off Ortega Highway, about 12 miles east of the 5 freeway, according to Lt. Jeff Hallock, the sheriff's spokesman. Confirmation that it is the 28-year-old Laguna Hills woman who has been missing since Feb. 15 is pending fingerprint and/or dental record comparison, Hallock said. Overnight Tuesday, a crime scene was established at the site where the body was found, and Alonso's father went there to confirm his worst fear. “I want to know, I want to find out, I want to find out,” he told KABC-TV Channel 7. Around 11 that morning, the county coroner took custody of the body. A manner or cause of death has not been determined, but an autopsy is scheduled for today. Anyone with additional information is asked to call Orange County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Unit at 714.647.7055 or 714.647.7000. Anonymous tips may be left with Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855.847.6227 (855-TIP-OCCS), via occrimestoppers.org or by texting to 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S) from a cell phone. (All text messages should begin with the letters “OCCS”.)
ORIGINAL POST, APRIL 22, 11:07 A.M.: Remember Erica Melissa Alonso, who has been missing since leaving her boyfriend's Irvine home in a huff after a Valentine's date spent at Sutra Lounge in Costa Mesa? Her family is now offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to finding the 27-year-old Laguna Hills resident.
“Alonso's family has remained hopeful and active in support of investigators' efforts to distribute information about the missing person case,” says Lt. Jeff Hallock, the Orange County sheriff's spokesman.
“Over the course of the last several weeks the family has raised funds to be able to offer a reward. After raising approximately $3,000 an Orange County Sheriff's Department reserve deputy donated the final $2,000 in order to reach the $5,000 goal.”
Alonso had driven away from her boyfriend's home in her white 2014 Honda Civic, which was found abandoned the afternoon of March 25 about a mile from her Laguna Hills home, in the in Glenwood Park neighborhood of Aliso Viejo.
Sheriff's investigators are still running down leads but there is no new information about the case being provided to the public, according to Hallock, who asks that anyone with additional information call the department's Homicide Unit at 714.647.7055 or 714.647.7000. Anonymous tips may be left with Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855.847.6227 (855-TIP-OCCS), via occrimestoppers.org or by texting to 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S) from a cell phone. (All text messages should begin with the letters “OCCS”.)
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.