KEY POINTS

  • Lauren Cho was last seen wearing a yellow T-shirt and jean shorts
  • In a Facebook post, the family had said she has many tatoos
  • The media was criticised for giving excessive focus to Gabby Petito's disappearance and death

Southern California authorities found human remains Sunday while searching for missing New Jersey woman Lauren Cho.

Cho went missing in SoCal's Yucca Valley in June when she likely walked far away from a short-term rental she was using during travels with friends and an ex-boyfriend, authorities said. 

The human remains have been sent to the San Bernardino County Coroner’s Division to determine a cause of death, NBC Los Angeles reported. Identification of the remains by the San Bernardino County coroner could take weeks, the sheriff's officials said, according to NBC News. 

"The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department conducted an additional search and rescue operation in the ongoing search for Lauren Cho," authorities said in a statement. "During the search, unidentified human remains were located in the rugged terrain of the open desert of Yucca Valley."

Cho was last seen wearing a yellow T-shirt and jean shorts.

The search for the 30-year-old intensified after the authorities faced criticism for focusing excessively on the disappearance and death of Gabby Petito. The case of Cho, who is a Korean American, and those of other women of color appeared to get a boost in attention after media was criticized of giving more focus to Petito's case.

Petito's remains were found Sept. 19 near Grand Teton National Park. Her fiancé, Brian Laundrie – who is the only one named as a person of interest in the case – is still unaccounted for. A federal arrest warrant was issued against Laundrie on Sept. 22, but he has not been charged in Petito's death. 

"We are wholly appreciative of the love that continues to be shown to El," Cho's family wrote in a Sept. 18 Facebook post on a page dedicated to sharing information about Cho that could lead to her discovery. "We empathize deeply with [Gabby Petito's] family and hope that both our cases bring forth positive resolution. Somebody knows something. About El, about Gabby..."

In another post, the family mentioned her tattoos. 

"El has a number of tattoos. Many of them are not regularly visible in everyday street clothing, but we want to point out a few that could be easily noticed and are fairly unique," the post read, along with the details of the tattoos and their images: "Mushroom: lower leg/ankle; Lamb: shoulder; No Face: inner arm, above elbow; Ten Commandments: thigh; Medusa: thigh."

police car A representational image of a police car. Photo: pixabay