Missing L.A. Couple Found 'In Good Health' In Mexico
An L.A. couple who'd gone missing after departing for a weekend trip in the desert has been found, according to a release sent out on Friday morning by the LAPD.
"Mariya Mitkova and Aaron Morganstein were located in Mexico in good health and will be reunited with their family," said the release. The LAPD declined to comment further on the incident.
Briana Gonzales, a friend of the couple, told LAist in a phone call that the couple had arrived at the Imperial Sand Dunes and got lost after leaving their car to take pictures. Gonzales said that the couple left the car on Sunday, and ended up "walking five days in the desert with no food and no water." She said that they'd walked towards a light they spotted in the distance, and later encountered a person who called Border Patrol. "We found them and they're alive and well," said Gonzales. Gonzales said she was speaking with a private investigator when they received a call about the discovery of the couple. It's uncertain if she was in direct contact with either Mitkova or Morganstein, and we have not yet been able to independently confirm her version of events.
Before they were reported missing, Mitkova or Morganstein had told friends that they'd intended to head out to the Imperial Sand Dunes, which is a few miles south of the Salton Sea. According to Google Maps, the sand dunes are approximately 30 miles away from the Mexican border.
The couple had planned to split up at some point during the trip, with Morganstein going off to Joshua Tree to do a photoshoot, and Mitkova taking a train back to Los Angeles. They failed to return after the weekend, however. Morganstein had reportedly missed his photoshoot, and Mitkova did not report to work on Monday. One of the last signs of their location was a cell phone ping at a tower located at 34225 Key Largo Avenue in Thousand Palms.
Friends had set up a GoFundMe page to fund a search party and to purchase camping supplies for volunteers. It has raised more than $25,000 as of Friday. After the announcement was made that the couple was found, Gonzales posted this message on the GoFundMe page:
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS SHARED THIS POST AND HAS HELPED IN THIS PROCESS OF FINDING THEM! WE ARE TRYING TO STOP THIS GO FUND ME BUT THE ADMIN IS IN A ZONE WITH NO WIFI HEADING OVER TO MEET THEM....WILL STOP IT ONCE WE CAN!