The wreckage of a plane reported missing after takeoff from Fullerton Municipal Airport was found Thursday in a remote area of northern San Diego County.
Authorities declined to identify the pilot, whose body was badly burned, until after an autopsy.
The single-engine Mooney aircraft left Fullerton on Wednesday bound for Borrego Springs east of San Diego, where the pilot was to pick up a friend, said Lt. Doug Clements of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
Authorities had searched for the plane for nearly 24 hours before they found it about 11 a.m. in a scrub-filled area about nine miles northwest of Warren Springs.
"We're surmising that, because the wreckage was confined to a small area, that it was a steep-angled crash," Clements said.