Search On for Young Couple Who Never Returned From Weekend Desert Camping Trip
Police left with few clues in the case of a Los Angeles couple who vanished during a desert camping trip have issued a public appeal for information leading to their safe return.
Mariya Mitkova, 27, and Aaron Morganstein, 33, left the Elysian Valley — or Frogtown — neighborhood over the weekend and have not been seen since.
According to the LAPD, the outdoors-loving couple set out for either Joshua Tree National Park or the Imperial Sand Dunes Saturday.
Both were expected back at work Monday morning. Neither showed up.
In a GoFundMe page created Monday, the couple's friends joined police with a plea for help locating the couple.
"These people are extraordinary, intelligent, kind, unique, and bring joy to so many people's lives. Please help us find them," the post says.
According to the post, a report to Los Angeles authorities has led to a request for help in the search in neighboring San Bernardino. However, the County Sheriff's Office has only been able to deploy limited resources into the 1,200-square-mile Joshua Tree National Park.
And, without a specific area to search, agencies are unable to send a helicopter.
"I am trying to organize a search party and collect camping tools such as compass' and CB radio/walkie's to help us find our way. We would greatly appreciate the help," a friend wrote on the GoFundMe page.
As of midday Thursday, the fundraiser had raised around $15,000 to help with the search.
A friend of the couple, Briana Gonzales, told InsideEdition.com that a command center is being organized in Joshua Tree.
A general map of where Mitkova and Morganstein might be has been uploaded for public view as well.
Anyone interested in contributing financially to the search effort may do so here.