Police have made a 'significant break' in the case
Sheriff’s investigators have finally located the car belonging to a missing 28-year-old Orange County, California, woman who disappeared after a Valentine’s Day date.
“Everything up to this point has been a dead end,” Lt. Jeff Hallock with the Orange County Sheriff Department tells PEOPLE. “This is the most significant break in the case we’ve had so far.”
Erica Alonso’s white 2014 Honda Civic EX was discovered on March 25 about a mile from her family’s Laguna Hills, California, home. The vehicle has “definitely been sitting there” for weeks, says Hallock, who adds that so far nothing has been found in or around the car to lead authorities to Alonso.
According to police, Alonso and her boyfriend spent much of the night of Feb. 14 at the Sutra Lounge in Costa Mesa, California, before she ended up making friends with another couple, who drove her and her boyfriend back to his apartment in Irvine, California, at 1:30 a.m.
The couple eventually left Alonso and her boyfriend at 3:30 a.m. after “they started to argue,” Hallock says.
When questioned about Alonso’s disappearance, her boyfriend “indicated that at 3:45 a.m. [she] leaves on her on her own and drives away,” says Hallock, adding that the boyfriend is “cooperating” with authorities. Alonso hasn t been seen since and there has been no activity on her phone, bank account or social media.
Investigators have impounded the vehicle and will continue to comb it for clues and evidence to help answer the mystery of what happened to Alonso.
“We are still pursuing this as a missing person’s case, says Hallock, who adds that it would be “premature” to call Alonso’s boyfriend a suspect. “We can’t even say that a crime has been committed.”
Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.