From missing to found; 3 Fontana families grieve

- The families of three Fontana teens are in mourning after their worst fears come true. 17 year old Samantha Ornelas, 18 year old Kasey Vance and 19 year old Daniel Gamboa told their parents they were going hiking Saturday. They never came home.

Monday afternoon, Fontana Police asked for the public's help in finding the teens, as well as a 2008 Toyota Tundra with a distinctly marked tailgate. 

Sadly, not long after hearing gut wrenching sentiments from Samantha's family at a news conference, word came that the LA County Search and Rescue had found a wreck off Angeles Crest Highway.  It was a white Toyota Tundra.

Until the crash was discovered, police had few leads about the teens whereabouts. They were last seen Saturday around 6pm.  After midnight, a credit card issued to Daniel Gamboa was used in Rancho Cucamonga, and a cellphone ping located his phone near Mt. Wilson.

Isabel Ornelas came back to the Police Department, hoping for word that somehow her sister had survived the crash.  She sobbed as she kept saying to me, "she has to be alive, my baby sister has to be alive."  It was like a desperate prayer.  

The police chaplain came to counsel and console the Ornelas family who left without talking to the media in a large group. 

Menatime, at the crash scene, family members who appeared to be connected to Daniel Gamboa fell to their knees and reached to the heaven in their grief.

All this while crews recovered the bodies, two had been ejected from the truck. 

In the coming days, more information will come out about Daniel and Kasey.  Right now, we know more about Samantha.  She had wanted to be a pediatrician. She had just taken her senior portraits.  Her Facebook page shows that she and Daniel were close friends.


The bodies of three people -- possibly missing hikers -- were found Monday at the site of a crashed pickup truck that went 150 feet over the side of Angeles Crest Highway north of Altadena.

The vehicle was located just after 5 p.m. near mile marker 40, about 9 miles north of the Foothill (210) Freeway, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

A sheriff's helicopter crew reported there were three dead victims at the scene, a dispatcher said.

It was not immediately confirmed if the victims were Daniel Gamboa, 19; Kasey Vance, 18; and Samantha Ornelas, 17, all of Fontana, who told family members they were going hiking in Angeles National Forest, possibly near Mt. Wilson, where the crashed pickup was found.

Fontana police had said the hikers were believed to be in Gamboa's 2008 white Toyota Tundra pickup truck, a vehicle similar to the one shown on television newscasts crashed over the side of the highway.

Los Angeles County sheriff's and fire department search and rescue teams were searching for the hikers when the vehicle was found.

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