A Los Angeles couple has vanished after leaving for a desert camping trip Saturday and worried loved ones were scrambling Thursday to hire more search helicopters and collect leads.
“They’re an amazing couple. They’re a magical duo, always traveling and in good spirits,” friend Briana Gonzales told the Daily News as she fielded calls about possible sightings and worked to keep the search party going.
Mariya (Masha) Mitkova, 27, and Aaron Morganstein, 33, are frequent campers who were last seen leaving their home near Dodger Stadium about 3 p.m. Saturday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Police said the couple was traveling in a dark blue Subaru Outback with California license plate No. 6PRH231.
The GoFundMe page said the vehicle was from model year 2012 and may have plate No. 7PHK773.
They were due back at work Monday morning but never showed up, according to a GoFundMe page set up by Gonzales and other friends to raise money for the search.
“We just got an update of another possible sighting (from) Sunday. We had guys out to the area already, but it was night. We have a helicopter going over right now and are hiring more helicopters,” Gonzales told The News.
“We are extremely worried about them. It’s Thursday now and, they were supposed to be back Sunday night or at least have some contact Monday morning,” she said.
Morganstein had a photography job lined up for Monday in San Diego and Mitkova was due at her job in Santa Monica.
“We’re actively looking and determined to find them,” Gonzales said. “We’re hoping they just got lost.”
The couple’s last purchase was at a gas station at Cabazon Fuel Center in Cabazon, Calif., near Palm Springs, friends said.
Their last cell phone ping recorded by local towers was about 25 miles east of the Cabazon station along the highway leading to Joshua Tree National Park, according to the GoFundMe page.
Mitkova has blonde hair and blue eyes, stands 5-feet-7 inches with a slim build and was last seen wearing a printed white t-shirt and shorts, police said.
Anyone with information about them is asked to call LAPD Missing Unit Detective Guevara at 213-996-1800; for afterhours tips, call 877-527-3247. Anonymous tips may be left at 800-222-8477.