UPDATE: Remains of missing desert couple ID’d – 3 men remain in custody

Authorities investigating the May, 2017 disappearance of 28-year-old, Jonathan Reynoso, of Palm Desert, and his girlfriend, 26-year-old, Audrey Moran, of Indio, announced today that the couple has been positively identified after their remains were located in an undisclosed area of Riverside County.

“It is with great sorrow to announce we have confirmed the human remains located have been positively identified as being those of Audrey Moran and Jonathan Reynoso,” Central Homicide Unit Sgt. Sergeant Rick Espinoza said after the couple’s remains were positively identified.

Three men remain in custody and have been charged with the couple’s disappearance and murders.

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Palm Desert Police Department and Indio Police Department began investigating the couple’s disappearance in May, 2017, after the pair went missing.

As the two-agency missing person’s investigation were getting underway Moran’s vehicle, a gray 2010 GMC Terrain, was located alongside the westbound Interstate 10 freeway, west of Oak Valley Parkway, within the city of Beaumont.

“Based upon jurisdictional considerations, and the benefits of funneling all new information through a single source, the Riverside Sheriff’s Department Central Homicide Unit has assumed the investigation of both missing people,” Espinoza reported at the time.

In June, 2020, more than three years into their investigation, Central Homicide Unit investigators received information that ultimately led to three men being identified in connection with Reynoso and Moran’s disappearance and murders.

Based on that information, officials arrested Manuel Magana Rios, 28, of Coachella, Abraham Fregoso, 32, of Indio, and Jesus Ruiz Jr., 41, of Stockton. All three men were booked into Riverside County Jails, where they remain in custody.

As their investigation continued, Central Homicide Unit officials learned human remains were discovered in Riverside County. Those remains were forwarded to the California Department of Justice for DNA analysis.

On Wednesday, October 14, the DOJ’s DNA analysis confirmed the remains were positively identified as those of the missing couple.

“This is still an ongoing investigation and no further information is being released at this time,” said Espinoza.

Anyone with information regarding this ongoing investigation is encouraged to call the missing persons tip-line at (760)-393-3544. Callers can refer to incident file number T171320057 and can remain anonymous.


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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.

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