Bodies found off Angeles Crest Highway identified as missing 19-year-old couple

A Caltrans worker stands near the site of a fatal crash on Angeles Crest Highway.
A Caltrans worker stands near the spot where an SUV carrying two teenagers went over the edge of Angeles Crest Highway in early July.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Two bodies found inside a vehicle that tumbled off the Angeles Crest Highway were identified as a couple of missing 19-year-olds last seen earlier this month, according to the Los Angeles County coroner on Monday.

Sophia Edwards and Ethan Manzano were last seen about 1:30 p.m. July 1 near Mile Marker 51 of the Angeles Crest Highway in the Angeles National Forest, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

For the record:

12:14 p.m. July 20, 2021An earlier version of this article said Edwards and Manzano left around 1:30 a.m. July 1 after visiting friends but never returned home to Apple Valley. The teens left around 1:30 p.m.

Authorities found a vehicle about 2 p.m. July 6 hundreds of feet down a steep mountainside off the highway near Mile Marker 71.5.

Wrightwood resident Chad Keel told KABC-TV he was helping search for the missing couple when he saw the wrecked vehicle through a camera on his drone. Other volunteers notified the Sheriff’s Department.

A preliminary investigation found the vehicle was traveling east at an unknown speed when the driver, Manzano, either “caused or allowed the vehicle to veer to the left where it hit a dirt berm and spun multiple times down the mountainside,” California Highway Patrol Officer M. Rogers said.


The couple were visiting friends in the Newcombs Ranch area. They left around 1:30 p.m. July 1 to drive home to Apple Valley but never arrived.

While awaiting positive identification, the couple’s friends and family feared the worst.

“I can’t believe I’m going to be burying my son. He was only 19,” Manzano’s father, Al, told reporters.

Times staff writer Leila Miller and City News Service contributed to this report.