San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s officials confirm that the body of a woman pulled from the wreckage of a car at Ragged Point Tuesday night is that of Olivia Hannah Gonzalez.
The 20-year-old, along with her 21-year-old boyfriend Brian Fernandez, went missing during a trip to the Big Sur area before Christmas.
Family members reported the Los Angeles couple missing when they failed to return by the Holiday.
Search and Rescue teams have not found Fernandez nor recovered a body, however, they did recover the remains of a light brown Labrador retriever mix after spotting the vehicle over the side of Highway 1 south of Ragged Point in northern San Luis Obispo County.
The cause of death is pending further investigation, but an autopsy was performed on Wednesday.
Officials said the body had been exposed to the elements for some time, according to the SLO County Sheriff’s Office.
Darkness, rain and heavy surf forced rescue crews to postpone their efforts until daybreak on Wednesday. SLO County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue and a dive team are mounting search operations to look for any other potential crash victims.
Weather conditions and a steep terrain are making search and rescue efforts very difficult. These efforts are expected to continue into the evening.
A GoFundMe account has been setup for expenses related to Gonzalez’s death.
The California Highway Patrol and the SLO County Sheriff’s Office, along with Cal Fire, are investigating a vehicle over the side on state Route 1 just south of Ragged Point in San Luis Obispo County.
A State Parks official first spotted the car and reported it at about 3:30 p.m Tuesday.
At least one body has been found about 15 feet from the car, along with a deceased dog. The car is approximately 325 feet down from Highway 1.
Authorities believe the car may belong to 20-year-old Olivia Hannah Gonzalez and 21-year-old Brian Fernandez, the missing couple from Los Angeles, but no identification has been made on the car positively linking the couple to this vehicle over the side.
The vehicle over the side is tan in color and is “unrecognizable”, according to the CHP.
The couple was last seen on Dec. 23, 2016 traveling with their dogs in a tan sedan. They had gone on a weekend trip to Big Sur and were expected to return for Christmas, but never did. That’s when family and friends began to worry and reported the pair missing.
CHP is currently in the process of recovering the bodies over the side. Since the scene of the crash is in a tidal zone, rescuers will need to make the recoveries before the tide comes in, according to CHP Public Information Officer Patrick Seebart.
No further information was immediately available.