The body of a California woman who was reported missing in August has been found as police reveal she suffered a car crash.
On Tuesday, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office announced via Facebook that a body authorities believe is Jolissa Fuentes was discovered by Selma Police Department chief Rudy Alcaraz.
He first found “vehicle debris” on Trimmer Springs Road, causing him to investigate further. He then discovered “old tire tracks that went through vegetation and off a cliff,” the FCSO added.
Alcaraz notified authorities in Fresno County and asked for search and rescue crews to be sent to the area.
“Drones were flown and deputies rappelled down more than 400 feet off the roadway and discovered a damaged car. The vehicle belonged to Jolissa Fuentes,” the sheriff’s office explained.
Remains that are also said to be Jolissa’s were found, along with some of her “personal belongings,” the FCSO added.
The coroner’s office is working to confirm that it is Jolissa. Authorities don’t believe foul play is involved.
The FCSO also shared footage from an officer’s drone that showed the “sharp curve” and “steep terrain” where her car crashed.
In a news briefing Tuesday evening, attended by Jolissa’s family, Alcaraz said it’s possible Jolissa was “up all night” and fell asleep at the wheel before the single-car crash.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims added that the collision and the area are under investigation as authorities gather more details.
Noting that Alcaraz was the officer who made the initial discovery, Mims said, “Being a woman of faith, I think he was divinely channeled to that area, along with his police instinct.”
Jolissa’s father, Joey Fuentes, also shared an emotional message, first thanking the country for their help.
He recalled telling Alcaraz, ” ‘I want you to go after my daughter like she’s your daughter, Chief. He told me, ‘I promise you Joey. I promise you, I will find your daughter.’ ”
“He was a man of his word,” Joey said of Alcaraz. “He’s my hero.”
Joey said that, during their search for Jolissa, the family had heard “all kinds of stories” about her disappearance.
Alcaraz explained how he found Jolissa, saying, “I just got lucky.”
Jolissa was last seen at about 4 a.m. on Aug. 7. She was reported missing the next day.
Police had recovered surveillance footage from an AM/PM Gas Station that showed her walking into the business and buying something at the front counter.
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Jolissa was seen in the footage walking out of the store, returning to her car, then driving off.
She had attended a party at a friend’s house the night before, and stopped at her grandmother’s place to pick up a bag and some money before driving to the AM/PM.
Relatives searched for her daily, scouring nearby orchards, vineyards and farms for any sign of her. A $10,000 reward was also offered for any information leading to her whereabouts.