The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) confirmed Feb. 8 that skeletal remains were located in the Pinyon Pines area.
“Skeletal remains were located on Feb. 5, but at this time we have not had a positive identification on those remains,” wrote RCSD Correctional Sgt. Deanna Pecoraro of the department’s media information bureau. “The remains were located near the 70100 block of Highway 74 in Mountain Center [Pinyon Pines]. No further information is available at this time.”
Since Feb. 8, no further information has been released. On Monday morning, the Town Crier emailed RCSD Sgt. Deanna Pecoraro for any updates on the identity of the remains.
“We do not have any update on those remains at this time,” Pecoraro replied. “Still pending the coroner.”
The newspaper also asked Pecoraro for updates regarding the five missing people. A response was not received by press time.
Five people remain missing
Eight people have gone missing in the area since March of last year and five remain missing.
On Sept. 10, an RCSD SUV was spotted hauling an off-road vehicle near Highway 243 and Saunders Meadow Road.
According to Hemet Sheriff Station Capt. Leonard Purvis, “They were conducting follow-up searches for Melissa Lane.”
While it was unclear exactly where on the mountain deputies were searching for Lane, Purvis also confirmed that the search didn’t provide any further information or evidence of where Lane may have gone missing.
Lane, 41 at the time she disappeared, was last seen June 15, according to a poster that was displayed in the Mountain Center area. The Town Crier spoke to Kathy Lamont, Lane’s mother, right after she was reported missing.
“She was an avid hiker but didn’t have a destination,” Lamont said. “She was last seen in Pine Cove. I don’t know if she’s dead or alive.”
Rosario Garcia was last seen at her home July 7, 2020 in Hemet by her family. According to Garcia’s family, her car was found on Sawmill Trail 5E02 in Pinyon Pines two days after she was last seen, but there was no sign of Garcia.
Garcia, who was 73 years old at the time she disappeared, was suffering from the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, which the family thinks she had for about two years.
While she didn’t travel far from home, she did still enjoy trips to the casinos and would run errands near her home in Hemet.
Earlier last year, Roy Prifogle was reported missing after going on a hike in the Pine Cove area Wednesday, March 4. He left home at about 1 p.m. and was last seen at the Pine Cove Market at 6:30 p.m. on the same day. He was last seen wearing a red backpack and jeans.
RCSD Deputy Jeremy Parsons said, “After six full days of searching in between inclement weather, searching 8 to 10 hours per day, Prifogle has not been located. The Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit (RMRU), as well as search and rescue volunteers from San Bernardino County, Orange County and San Diego County, were assisting. In total, about 150 people have been searching during those six days.” Also adding, “On the second or third day of the search, we found his backpack, but have found no other clues as to his whereabouts.”
On Sunday, June 7 at approximately 8:24 a.m., Hemet Station deputies were dispatched to the 58000 block of Bonita Vista in reference to a missing person. Lydia “Dia” Abrams was placed into the system as a missing person.
Abrams is 65 years old, 5’ 5” tall, 130 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing a black and turquoise jacket, yellow shirt and blue jeans.
According to RMRU, their team of volunteers was dispatched to Abrams’ 160-acre ranch in the Apple Canyon area (between Mountain Center and Garner Valley) June 9. They conducted a search from 8 a.m. to 6p.m. with no success of finding Abrams.
RMRU went out again June 10 to search more difficult areas on the property including a creek bed and the hills overlooking her ranch. All assignments were completed by 6 p.m. At that point, detectives took over the investigation and called off the physical ground search.
The most recent woman to go missing from the Hemet/San Jacinto area is 27-year-old Diana Perez Gonzalez who was reported missing Dec. 11. According to family, Gonzalez visited the Idyllwild area regularly. She was last seen by her boyfriend.
Christy Rojas, Gonzalez’s sister, and her family are struggling with her sister missing.
Rojas said, “We’ve been terribly sad. We think about her every day and have dreams of her, waiting for any sign or a miracle because we miss her and love her a lot. But the most important, her baby needs her. We can see the sadness in her eyes. Although she can’t speak, we know she misses her mom.” Gonzalez is also pregnant.
If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of Roy Prifogle, Lydia “Dia” Abrams, Rosario Garcia, Diana Perez Gonzalez or Melissa Lane, contact the RCSD at 800-950-2444.