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Police Believe Body Found In OC Forest Is Woman Missing Since February

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A decomposed human body was discovered last night off the Ortega Highway near Mission Viejo, and the family of a missing Laguna Hills woman is worried.

The body was discovered last night around 10 p.m. by a group of Caltrans biologists working about a mile east of the San Juan Capistrano Fire-Ranger station near Ortega and Hot Springs Road, according to City News Service. Crews waited until morning to recover and transport the body, as the rugged terrain made it difficult for them to work in the dark, KTLA reports. Capt. Steve Concialdi of the Orange County Fire Authority said that the person may have been the victim of a crime.

Isaac Alonso, the father of a woman has been missing for over two months, said he went to the area to see if the body found was his daughter's. He said that he was not able to see the body, but that he was told by crews that the body was that of a woman's. Authorities have not yet confirmed the gender or age of the body.

Alonso's daughter, 27-year-old Erica Alonso has been missing since February 15. She and her on-again, off-again boyfriend went out on Valentine's Day to a club in Costa Mesa where they met a couple who offered them a ride back to the boyfriend's place in Irvine. At the apartment, Alonso and her boyfriend got into an argument and the couple left. Alonso left a few minutes later, and that's the last anyone has seen of her. Her Honda Civic EX was found by detectives in March, abandoned in Alisa Viejo, about a mile from her Laguna Hills home.

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Police questioned the couple as well as Alonso's boyfriend, who has been described as cooperative, and have yet to make any arrests. Alonso's family is offering a $5,000 reward for any information that helps to find her.

Alonso's brother, Isaac Alonso Jr., told City News Service, "Either way if it's her or not, it's going to be a very sad day for a family out there. If we're the family that has to carry that
burden, then so be it, but we're hoping that it's not."

Anyone with information should call the Orange County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Unit at 714-647-7055.

Update: The body has been preliminarily identified as Erica Alonso, according to a release from the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Authorities will wait until after an autopsy has been performed to officially confirm that the body is Alonso's. The autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow.