The remains of a missing California woman were found in a rural area of Fresno County on October 11, 2022.
The woman was 22-year-old Jolissa Fuentes, who disappeared around 4am on August 7 after driving to a gas station.
Who was Jolissa Fuentes?
Jolissa Fuentes grew up in Selma, California with her parents and four siblings.
According to her parents, she enjoyed being outdoors, and her father, Joey, told Dateline, “She liked the country. She liked to come here by the lakes and watch the scenery.”
Joey and his wife described their daughter as “hardworking,” “bubbly,” and “family-oriented.”
The day before Jolissa’s disappearance, she had attended a family event for her close friend before returning to her grandmother’s house where she lived.
“She enjoys being with her family,” said Fuentes’ mom, Norma, adding, “She likes family gatherings.”
After leaving the event, Jolissa called her brother, who also lived at her grandmother’s house, to ask where he was, but he told her he was in Fresno.
Her mother, Norma, told the outlet that according to her son, Jolissa said, “Okay, I’ll run to the store quickly, I’ll be back.”
When did Jolissa Fuentes disappear?
After calling her brother around 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 7, Jolissa left her grandmother’s house to go to the local 24-hour gas station.
She can be seen on the gas station’s security cameras shortly after Norma told Dateline, “… Then at 5:24 she tried to call her sister.”
Her sister wouldn’t answer the phone, and when her family tried to reach her the next day, no one could get through.
Norma said she knew immediately something was wrong as she continued to receive her daughter’s voicemail.
“She didn’t pick up her phone,” Norma said. “Jolissa didn’t pick up on her grandmother, she didn’t call her brother or sister back.”
She added Jolissa “had work the next day and she never misses work.”
The family didn’t wait long to report their daughter missing and contacted Selma Police at 7 p.m. that evening.
Footage showed Jolissa “purchasing some items and then getting in her vehicle and walking west on Nebraska Avenue,” Police Chief Rudy Alcaraz said during a news conference.
He added that she “was apparently alone,” and Norma told Dateline, “We don’t know where she was going. She just jumped in the car and took off that way.”
Where was Jolissa Fuentes found?
Police were able to ping Jolissa’s phone from nearby cell phone towers and planted her in the Pine Flat and Avocado Lake area.
The location was about 30 minutes from the gas station where Jolissa was last seen and a search team was deployed to search Avocado Lake.
Jolissa’s family offered a $15,000 reward to anyone who could help them find their daughter.
After a two-month search, investigators found Jolissa’s car over a bluff that stretched to Pine Flat Lake.
During a news conference, law enforcement officials said their team had to climb 250 to 500 feet over the cliff’s edge to recover Jolissa’s body.
Authorities say they believe her death was the result of a car accident due to fatigue and say she died that same night.
The California Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of the accident, and Alcaraz said what led them to the cliff were road markings that weren’t visible from their vehicles.
“There were some tire marks that you really can’t see until you get out of the car and actually walk and actually stand on them and that kind of shaped me,” Alcaraz said during a press conference.
Jolissa’s remains were found in one of the locations where the search team had originally searched but had complained of poor vision due to undergrowth and dense trees.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said: “[Alcaraz] personally found the scene of the accident.
“Yesterday he drove alone into the mountains, has already researched the areas he has searched and actually found the scene of the accident.”
Jolissa’s father, Joey, spoke at the press conference and praised Alcaraz, calling him his hero.
“He promised me he would find her and he was the one who found her. He was a man of his word.”
Joey continued, “I want to thank the community, not just the community, this whole nation.
“The screams and pain of my wife and sisters and family could be heard across the country.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6422557/who-was-jolissa-fuentes/ Who was Jolissa Fuentes? | The US sun