Sightseer spots missing teen’s wrecked car after 400-foot plunge, California cops say

A 19-year-old woman gone missing on a trip to Las Vegas was found dead in a crash Sunday after plunging 400 feet down an embankment by a visitor at a vista point, California Highway Patrol officers say.

Kayla Vallez of Stockton, who was found still wearing her seatbelt, had last been seen Thursday before reportedly leaving to drive to Las Vegas, KTXL reported.

A person who stopped at a vista point on Highway 120 near Tioga Pass contacted authorities after spotting her wrecked 1997 Honda Accord at 10:56 p.m. Sunday, the CHP reported.

Mono County search and rescue personnel climbed down to the crashed Accord, where they found Vallez’s body, according to the CHP.

Investigators are still trying to determine when and how the crash occurred, but say Vellez’s car left the road and tumbled down the 400-foot embankment, the release says.

Her family had reported Vallez missing to Stockton police Nov. 1, KOVR reported.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.