A couple that went missing after a Mother's Day trip may have tried to survive by drinking rainwater and eating pie while they were stranded in a remote desert area east of San Diego.
"It looks like they were surviving on rain water," said Chief Sossaman with the Los Coyotes Police. "There was cups around, they were drinking rainwater as it rained ... they'd been out there for all indications since around May 10."
On Sunday, multiple law enforcement agencies responded to a rescue call where one person was reported dead and another dehydrated. Later that evening, Sheriff's officials confirmed the dead body belonged to Cecil "Paul" Knutson, 79, and his girlfriend Dianna Bedwell, 67, who was airlifted to a nearby hospital. Bedwell remains in serious condition at Palomar Hospital.
The Fullerton, California, residents were last seen leaving Valley View Casino in north San Diego on May 10 at around 2 p.m. in their white 2014 Hyundai Sonata.
After leaving the casino, the couple headed to their son's house in La Quinta and tried to take a shortcut several miles from the main road, San Diego Sheriff Department Lt. Ken Nelson said at a news conference. The couple ended up stuck on boulders in rugged terrain, Nelson added.
Officials said they did not suspect foul play and they believe the couple went the wrong way and got lost.
Cups placed around the car indicated the couple collected rain water to drink and survived a part of the time on oranges and pie, Nelson said.
Their Sonata was found by a man four wheeling in a remote and rocky area near Warner Springs along Highway 79, approximately 47 miles from the casino where they were last seen.
The couple had not been heard from in two weeks, despite the efforts of family members, a search-and-rescue crew and San Diego County Sheriff’s Department investigators. Dozens of volunteers and a sheriff's search-and-rescue crew scoured several areas between north San Diego and Riverside counties to no avail.
The man that found the couple said Bedwell was singing praises of her companion, telling him Knutson fought to get them out of there while working to keep her comfortable. He was the one that put cups for water around the car.