November 28, 2008

Missing woman's body found in Mojave National Preserve

Luisa Aguilar Ventura, 58, was reported missing Nov. 17. Her grandson, Arturo Hernandez, 18, and his pickup truck are being sought.

Luisa Aguilar Ventura

By Esmeralda Bermudez
Los Angeles Times
Stacia Glenn
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

The body of a 58-year-old woman missing since last week was found in the Mojave National Preserve on Tuesday morning.

Luisa Aguilar Ventura was reported missing by relatives in Pomona on Nov. 17 after she failed to arrive in Madera, Calif., north of Fresno, with her 18-year-old grandson, Arturo Hernandez. She and her grandson, Arturo Hernandez, 18, were heading from Las Vegas to Madera. Ventura last spoke to her family when the two left Las Vegas at 6 p.m. on Nov. 16.

The incident is being investigated by homicide detectives, but so far has not been ruled a homicide, said Arden Wiltshire, spokeswoman with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. Authorities are searching for Hernandez.

"We don't even know if he's aware that she died," Wiltshire said about Ventura's grandson, adding that there were no signs of trauma on Ventura's body. The coroner's report has not been released. "We need to talk to him," she said.

A passing truck driver discovered Ventura's body near the Nevada and California state line in Cima and about 100 yards from Cima Road, south of the 15 Freeway. Ventura and Hernandez were traveling in a gray 2002 Toyota Tacoma, license plate 6Y27079. Authorities are searching for the truck.

Anyone with information is asked to call the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department homicide detail at (909) 387-3589.