Desperate search for Lauren Cho, 30, who disappeared this summer in case that's 'similar' to Gabby Petito vanishing

A DESPERATE search is underway for a 30-year-old woman who went missing this summer in a case that is being compared to the disappearance of Gabby Petito.

Lauren Cho was last seen  in California's Yucca Valley on June 28 after walking away from her friend Cody Orell, the last person to have seen her.

Since then her family and friends have issued pleas for help in finding her, with police looking into whether she might have hitch-hiked or caught a ride with someone in the area.

Petito was confirmed dead by authorities following an autopsy on Tuesday. Her body had been found during a search of a Wyoming national park.


Gabby had been on a road trip with her fiancé Brian Laundrie when she disappeared.

Brian returned home alone on September 1 to Florida – where the couple lived with his parents – but he has since gone missing.

Police have named Brian as a person of interest in the case.

Now Twitter users are drawing comparisons between the two cases, with one writing: "The gaps in investigations for marginalized groups is real."

"We must do better and find answers like we did for Gabby Petitio. Let's find Lauren Cho," they added.

Another said: "There are many times one case gets more coverage than others, for example, Lauren 'El' Cho went missing earlier this summer, yet there was hardly any coverage on her case."

Read our Gabby Petito live blog for the very latest news and updates…

Crime podcast Crime Junkie noted: "Like Gabby, Lauren 'El' Cho went missing this summer as well after her friends say she walked out towards the mountains and was never seen again."

MSNBC host Joy Reid even called out the coverage of Petito's disappearance as "missing white woman syndrome."


But a Facebook page dedicated to finding Lauren said this week: "We would like to take a moment to acknowledge the messages and questions that have come our way this past week regarding the Gabby Petito case in comparison to what is happening with El.

"We realize that on the surface, the public information for both cases share some similarities.

"We understand the frustration many of you have expressed about how and why certain cases receive national coverage.

"Ultimately, these two cases are NOT the same and the differences run deeper than what meets the public eye.

"We are wholly appreciative of the love that continues to be shown to El. We empathize deeply with Gabby's family and hope that both our cases bring forth positive resolution.

"Somebody knows something. About El, about Gabby."


According to her friend Orell, the last person to have seen Lauren, she wanted to "taste freedom", joining him on his tour bus as he made his way out west.

The New Jersey native moved to California in the fall of 2020.

Her journey led her to Bombay Beach, a small town on the coast.

Cho was in the process of renovating an old school bus into a food truck when she went missing.

She had been staying at a friend's place with Orell.

Cho was last seen at approximately 3pm on the day she went missing in the area around Hoopa Road and Ben Mar Trail in between Morongo Valley and Yucca Valley.

According to sheriff's reports, Orell placed the call that she went missing at 5.13pm that day.

He told The Desert Star: "There was a 10-minute window there and she evaporated … I searched all in the hills and no tracks, anywhere."

Cho is said to have made comments about being upset and walked away on foot while Orell was inside of his tour bus.


No traces of Cho, who was wearing a yellow tee shirt and jean shorts, have been found in or around the valley she was last seen in.

On July 31 police carried out a search of a property, the last known location where Cho was seen.

Search and rescue teams including drones, helicopters, dogs, and people on foot have also been actively searching the surrounding areas for any sign of Cho.

Morongo Basin Sheriff's Station said on Tuesday that investigators from Specialized Investigations Division are assisting in efforts to find Cho.


A Facebook page set up to help find Lauren states: "Somebody knows something."

The Sun has contacted the Morongo Basin Sheriff's Station for comment.

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