UPDATE: Detectives Search For 6 People Who’ve Gone Missing Around California’s Idyllwild Area
“I think it’s a predator,” says the mother of one woman who vanished after she was last seen near the mountain community.
Two of the six people who had seemed to have vanished into thin air from around several mountain communities in California have been found safe, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department announced on social media.
Family and friends of those who remain missing — Melissa Lane, 41, Ron Prifogle, 52, Lydia “Dia” Abrams, 66, and Rosario “Chata” Garcia, 73— hold out hope they’ll also learn the whereabouts of their loved ones.
The Riverside County Sheriff's Department is investigating the remaining four cases, which detectives reportedly believe are unconnected.
“The best thing we could do would be to get answers as to what happened,” Prifogle’s daughter, Kendra Johnson, told Los Angeles’ KABC-TV. “But if that is not possible, I just hope that other people maybe get answers and their loved ones are found.”
If you have information on those still missing, please contact the RCSD at 800-950-2444.
ORIGINAL POST: 8/7/20
At least six people have mysteriously vanished over the past five months in the area around Idyllwild, California, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed.
San Diego’s KFMB-TV reported that while there is currently no indication of foul play in the cases, some residents of the region’s mountain communities are troubled about the string of strange disappearances.
It’s just a weird coincidence that there’s this many locals missing
“It’s just a weird coincidence that there’s this many locals missing,” area resident Gabbi Rose told the station.
According to Rose, her former co-worker, Jade Kemerer, 30, had checked out of Idyllwild’s Bluebird Cottage Inn on July 22 and was planning on driving to Ohio to meet up with her mother and 10-year-old son, who had recently left.
“Jade is not always the most responsible person, but I will tell you she loves her son,” Rose said. “I don't think she would have left her son without telling someone that she was leaving.”
Kemerer is just the latest case of someone who seems to have vanished into thin air from around the small town nestled in the San Jacinto Mountains.
On the morning of July 7, Rosario “Chata” Garcia, 73, got in her car in Hemet and has not been seen since. Family said Garcia had dementia and her vehicle, a Nissan sedan, was discovered on a remote dirt road 40 miles away in Pinyon Pines two days after she went missing.
“Her car was recovered abandoned and on a boulder unable to move. There is no way that she made it up that mountain much less [got] down,” Garcia’s daughter-in-law, Laura Atencio, shared on social media about the fruitless search for the senior.
Weeks earlier, on June 21, Venessa Vlasek, 27, also went missing from the Idyllwild area.
“My mom has not seen or spoken to my sister since Mother’s Day, which is very unusual of my sister,” Amber Haggerty recently told The Town Crier. “The beginning of March or the end of February was the last I talked to her. It was a really short conversation. No one else has seen or heard from her in a month.”
And on June 15, a relative reportedly dropped off avid hiker Melissa Lane, 41, near the Black Mountain Truck Trail, an area eight miles from Idyllwild. On July 4, she was reported missing by her concerned mother, Kathy, who had been trying to find her daughter for weeks.
“She hiked all over. She wasn't afraid of anything. She had no fear,” Kathy explained to KFMB-TV. “I think it’s a predator. They could be stealing people for the sex-slave trade or it could be a serial killer.”
Adding to the troubling circumstances, Palm Springs’ KESQ-TV reported Lane had left behind her cell phone and other belongings at her boyfriend’s house.
On June 7, Lydia “Dia” Abrams, 66, vanished from Bonita Vista Ranch, the 160-acre Mountain Center-Garner Valley property where the millionaire lived. A multi-day search turned up no sign of the missing woman.
Three months earlier, on Mar. 4, Roy Prifogle, 52, disappeared after he went on an afternoon hike in Pine Cove. According to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, around 150 volunteers searched for Prifogle for six days and found his backpack and car in different areas, but there were no other clues that could shed light on what might have happened to him.
“I think maybe he put down his backpack and went back to get water and maybe he lost his footing or something,” Prifogle’s 20-year-old daughter, Kendra Johnson, told KFMB-TV.
“If you have someone missing, you don't know whether they're alive or not, and you don't know when to move on or not to move on. It’s just hard,” Johnson said.
A spokesperson from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has requested the public’s help in locating Jade Kemerer, Rosario Garcia, Venessa Vlasek, Melissa Lane, Lydia “Dia” Abrams and Roy Prifogle.
If you have information on any of their whereabouts, please contact the RCSD at 800-950-2444.