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2 Bodies Could Be Men Missing Since March

May 09, 1998|KARIMA A. HAYNES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

CASTAIC — The skeletal remains of two people inside a car were retrieved Friday from a remote area below Lake Hughes Road near Castaic Lake State Recreation Area, authorities said, adding that foul play was not suspected.

The car, which appeared to have crashed, was discovered at 3 p.m. Thursday by a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department helicopter searching for the 1978 Chevrolet Malibu and its two occupants, who were reported missing March 30, said Officer Doug Sweeney of the California Highway Patrol's Newhall station.

"The helicopter was looking for the vehicle on a request from a Sheriff's Department detective who asked him to make one more pass over the area," Sweeney said. "The car could not be seen from the road because of the terrain."

On Friday morning, a search and rescue team rappelled 200 feet down a slope to the crash site in a heavily wooded area, Sweeney said. The car was on its side and partially burned from a small fire that apparently ignited when the car hit the canyon floor, he said.

The remains were removed, Sweeney said, but the car would be left at the bottom of the canyon because it would be too difficult to move.

The car is registered to Brian Jared Bevan, 20, of Lancaster, who was last seen in the car with his friend Michael Lee Stearman, 23, of Palmdale, Sweeney said. But he said authorities were not yet prepared to identify the remains in the car.

Relatives told investigators that Bevan and Stearman had planned a camping trip at Castaic Lake and were expected to travel along Lake Hughes Road, Sweeney said. Family members said the men departed March 16.

The case remains under investigation by the CHP.

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