I-Team Exclusive: Investigator 'confident' missing couple mystery will be solved

Exclusive one-on-one with investigator.

Investigator in Coachella Valley missing case 'confident' mystery will be solved soon

PALM DESERT, Calif. - Audrey Moran and Jonathan Reynoso have been missing for over eight months, but the case is far from closed. The Riverside County Sheriff Department’s Central Homicide Unit took over the investigation in June and Sergeant Walt Mendez has been leading their efforts. The I-Team’s John White sat down with Sgt. Mendez to discuss the latest update on the suspicious disappearance.

“The Sheriff’s Department is currently working this case, it’s still an open case,” Mendez said, “We’d like to remind everyone that it’s an active investigation and we are proceeding forward with it...We’re still pursuing leads, and we’re still seeking the public’s assistance in helping us with that.

In the last two months, the updates relating to the disappearance of Reynoso and Moran have been scarce. However, the investigation isn’t proceeding like a recovery effort at all.

“Does the Sheriff's Department work on the assumption that they're alive?  We're always working under that assumption,” says Mendez,  “As I stated earlier, the circumstances surrounding their disappearance are suspicious.” 

In recent months, the Sheriff’s Department has continued its search for potential leads, with some potentially promising results, according to Mendez. 

“The Sheriff's Department was looking for something there and that was a known friend of hers.  Well, we have written and served many, many search warrants in conjunction with this investigation as far as specific locations and people, I'm not able to disclose that.”

Outside of the Riverside County’s Sheriff Department, Mendez says there has been a potential lead discovered by local authorities.

 “There is an investigation launched by the Thermal Sheriff's station in regards to a vehicle that was reported stolen and later located burned outside Coachella.” 

MORE: I-Team investigation: 6 Months Missing

Timeline of the Case

Moran, 26, and Reynoso, 28, were last seen on May 10, and Moran’s family reported her missing in the early morning hours of May 11.  On May 12, Moran’s 2010 GMC Terrain SUV was found parked alongside Interstate-10 West near Banning. Officers found no signs of foul play in their preliminary investigations.

Read: Family hosts fundraiser for local missing couple

Initially, the investigation was being led by a joint effort between Indio police and the Riverside Sheriff’s Department. The investigation was assumed entirely by the Riverside Sheriff’s Department based on jurisdictional considerations and to streamline the process of receiving new case information.

The Sheriff’s Department encourages anyone with new information of the case to contact their homicide tip line at (760)-393-3544.

100 Days Missing: A look at the timeline in the missing couple case


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