Missing teen’s body found in brush near Mission Viejo park

Emma Pangelinan, 13, was found dead near Pinecrest Park in Mission Viejo a day after she was last seen.
(Orange County Sheriff’s Department)

The body of a missing 13-year-old girl was found near a Mission Viejo park Monday, a day after she was last seen, authorities said.

Emma Pangelinan’s body was found about noon in an area with heavy brush near Pinecrest Park, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

The girl’s death does not appear to be suspicious, said Carrie Braun, a spokeswoman for the department, but she would not explain why. Coroner’s officials will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Emma, who authorities said was classified as a runaway, was last seen in Mission Viejo about 3:30 p.m. Sunday.


Braun said the department described her as an “at-risk teen that needs to be reunited with her family” because of her young age.

Classmates on Monday brought flowers and candles to the park to remember Emma, who played softball.

“I’m just going to miss her smile and just how much ... of an amazing person she was,” her friend Gianna Lopez told KTLA. “I just remember always hanging out with her in class, always … cracking jokes with her at lunch, just having good times with each other.”

“She was a really nice classmate and she was great to be around,” another friend, Mia Nin, told the station.

Twitter: @AleneTchek


11:05 p.m.: This article was updated with interviews with friends.

This article was originally published at 10:40 p.m.