Missing couple found dead in forest near Big Bear

Cougar Crest trailhead near Big Bear.
(Los Angeles Times )
Share via

A missing couple were found dead Monday about half a mile off a popular hiking trail in Fawnskin after authorities found one of their vehicles in the trail’s parking area.

Paul Arthur Stockwell, Jr., 29, of Big Bear and Ria Gabriella Williams, 27, of Santa Ana were last seen together Wednesday in Big Bear, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

On Friday, after Williams didn’t come into work, her co-worker reported her missing to the South Gate Police Department. Stockwell’s father reported him missing to the sheriff’s Big Bear station on Friday as well.


About 2:15 a.m. Monday, deputies found Williams’ vehicle in the parking area of Cougar Crest trail, about half a mile west of the Big Bear Discovery Center.

The deputies requested help from Deputy Ryan Girard and a K-9 unit to search the area. About 1:30 p.m., Stockwell’s and Williams’ bodies were found about half a mile into the forest.

Homicide detectives are conducting a death investigation and are awaiting results from an autopsy to determine cause of death, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

It remains unclear how long Williams’ vehicle had been in the trail parking lot.