Friday, 24 May 2024

Searchers find body of missing Sonoma State student

SONOMA COUNTY – The search for a missing Sonoma County student who was en route to Lake County has ended in tragedy.


Sonoma County Sheriff's Office investigators reported finding the body of Lauren Rutz, 22, on Sunday, the victim of an apparent vehicle accident.


As Lake County News reported Sunday, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office issued a report on seeking information on the whereabouts of Rutz, who was driving from San Francisco to Kelseyville Saturday when she went missing.


Rutz reportedly resided in both the Sebastopol area and Kelseyville,


Her mother had reported hearing from her at 2:45 a.m. Saturday during a cell phone conversation, as Lake County News previously reported. Cell phone records had indicated that Rutz was in the Windsor area at the time of the phone call.


On Sunday at approximately 1 p.m., the Sonoma County Sheriff's Helicopter was conducting a search along possible routes that Rutz could have used on her way from the San Francisco area to Kelseyville, according to a Sonoma County Sheriff's Office report.


The helicopter crew spotted vehicle debris and a vehicle off of Highway 101, south of Asti, according to the report. The vehicle was well off the roadway, in a ditch near a vineyard in dense vegetation.


The vehicle was not visible from the roadway to passing motorists or deputies who had driven through the area earlier as part of a ground search, the report stated, and turned out to be the Toyota RAV4 Rutz was driving.


Rutz, the vehicle's only occupant, was found dead in the vehicle and positively identified, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office reported.


The circumstances surrounding the vehicle accident are being investigated by the California Highway Patrol, the report added.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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