Last week I wrote about the sad story regarding Lauren “El” Cho, who still remains missing.

I mentioned that the Gabby Petito case has caused all of us to take a closer look at missing persons cases. And this one hits particularly close to home because the subject of this case is actually a Jersey girl.

Cho, a tattoo and piercing artist from New Jersey has been missing since June 28, and, like Gabby Petito, was traveling with her boyfriend. The boyfriend was the one to report her missing.

A new development has sparked interest in the case and unfortunately, it may be bad news.

According to the Patch, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department has found unidentified human remains near the Yucca Valley desert, where Lauren, who is called “El” by her friends and family, was last seen.

People are absolutely mesmerized by cases like this. Because of social media and the absolute deluge of information that we can all get our hands on now, missing persons cases like these often become a game of Clue, with strangers taking random bits and pieces of information and trying to piece together the story of what really happened.

Cho’s family, on a Facebook page they created dedicated to the search, is asking the public to refrain from speculation. And they’re asking the public to “continue to be respectful good people.”

We all know that the process of identifying human remains can be a long and arduous one and that amateur internet sleuths can post offensive and distressing comments while trying to solve a crime like this.

I can’t even imagine how painful it must be for the family to go through something like this and on top of it have to listen to wild, imaginary scenarios that any Tom, Dick or Harry can dream up and then post online.

Until we know more, the public is still encouraged to call in any information they may have about the case.

The Patch provides contact info for the Morongo Basin Station where Detective Shaunna Ables is fielding calls about Cho’s case.

Abels may be reached 760-366-4175.

Or if you wish to remain anonymous, you can call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or go online to

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi Franco’s own.

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