A missing Apple Valley couple last seen in the Angeles National Forest may have been found on Highway 2 (Angeles Crest Highway) west of Wrightwood.
On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, the wreckage of a 2007 Izuzu Ascender was located in the Angeles National Forest along Angeles Crest Highway (Hwy 2) west of Wrightwood. Sophie Rayanne Edwards and Ethan Manzano, both 19-years-old of Apple Valley, were last seen driving the same type of vehicle through Wrightwood just days before on July 1. The wreckage was found by Chad Keel, a resident of Wrightwood who was assisting in searching for the missing couple. Chad was using his drone to search the many ravines and steep canyons located along Highway 2. He soon discovered the wreckage, located between Vincent Gap and Dawson Saddle, about 1300 feet below the highway. Keel contacted the Sheriff’s Department, which responded to the scene.
Highway 2 was closed as rescue crews made their way to the vehicle, where they discovered two bodies in the vehicle and pronounced the two occupants diseased. Items belonging to the missing couple were also spotted near the wreckage. However, identification is pending until the coroner’s report is issued. Because of the time of day (the call came in about 3:15 pm) and the steep and rocky terrain, recovery efforts were held off until Wednesday, July 7.
Sophie’s sister and a friend were at the scene, understandably devastated yet grateful for all the help, love, and support from so many. Family, friends, locals from the community, and law enforcement had been frantically searching for the young couple for five days. They were last seen at a closed roadside restaurant in the Angeles National Forest off Highway 2 on Thursday, July 1, near mile marker 52, and were believed to be traveling to Apple Valley. Ethan and Sophie, his girlfriend, were planning on moving to Colorado over the Fourth of July weekend.