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Laguna Beach Teacher May Have Died of Exposure, Officials Say

September 24, 1997

Search crews confirmed Tuesday that a body found beneath a rock overhang in the San Bernardino National Forest was that of an elementary school teacher who had been missing for more than a week.

The body of Dianna Furry, 51, of Laguna Beach was discovered late Monday about a quarter-mile from where she apparently abandoned her car after taking a wrong turn on the way to a festival in Idyllwild.

There were no obvious signs of trauma, officials said. An autopsy is scheduled for today. Furry, found barefoot and wearing shorts and a shirt, may have died of exposure, officials said.

Furry, who taught at Monte Vista Elementary School in Santa Ana, had been on her way to meet her boyfriend at the Whole Being Festival, a New Age expo she had attended for the last 10 years.

Her car, spotted a week after she disappeared Sept. 13, apparently became stuck in soft dirt on a rugged path about 11 miles off California 243 in Riverside County.

An old sign at the foot of Black Mountain Road directing visitors to a YMCA camp probably prompted Furry to turn off the highway, officials said.

Officials speculated that Furry abandoned the car and tried to walk toward the city lights of Palm Springs, but lost her footing and fell into the rocky ravine where her body was found.

"We believe she just became lost and disoriented," said search commander Dennis Keene, who added that Furry may have lost her shoes during her ordeal. "It isn't difficult to get turned around out here."

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