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Body found in remote area of Orange County; student still missing

Detectives are investigating the discovery of a body found in a remote area of Modjeska Canyon in Orange County, authorities said late Thursday.

Orange County sheriff's Lt. Tim Rainwater confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that Orange Police Department officers went out to perform an investigation near the intersection of Santiago Canyon Road and Jackson Ranch Road about 5:15 p.m. Thursday.

Rainwater said police called again later requesting assistance with traffic control and the Sheriff's Department sent out help about 6:30 p.m. 

Rainwater said he believed police units were still on scene, but stressed that the Sheriff's Department was not clear on the nature of the investigation.

For more than a week, Orange police have been searching for a missing Cal State Fullerton student, who disappeared earlier this month.

Maribel Manriquez Ramos, a former Army sergeant who served in South Korea and Iraq, was just weeks from graduating with a degree in criminal justice.

She was last seen on surveillance video outside her apartment building about 8:30 p.m. on May 2.

Ramos was reported missing a few days later, after she failed to show up at a veterans appreciation dinner at which she was supposed to give a speech.

"We don't have any evidence that would substantiate a crime did occur," Sgt. Fred Lopez previously told The Times. Although there was no sign of foul play, disappearing without alerting those close to her seemed out of character, he added.

"She would never walk away from commitments, never walk away from family," Lopez said.

Ramos left behind her car and her dog, a Chihuahua mix named Mia, a constant at her side. It appears that she had her cellphone and wallet when she vanished.

According to police, her bank account and credit cards have not been touched.

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matt.stevens@latimes.com

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