Body of missing El Centro attorney found
After a nearly month-long search, the body of a missing 28-year-old El Centro man was discovered Sunday in the desert near Painted
Canyon and Box Canyon roads.
The body was found at 3 p.m. Sunday by Riverside Sheriff’s deputies, and on Tuesday, the Riverside County coroner’s office identified the body as that of Ankit Goyal.
Goyal was an attorney with El Centro-based law firm Plourd & Breeze.
He had previously worked in the San
Diego area before relocating to the Valley in 2017.
On Oct. 2, deputies from the Thermal Station received a call that Riverside County Transportation Department employees located a vehicle in Box Canyon, between Interstate 10 and Painted Canyon Road, near Mecca.
The vehicle appeared to have been swept off the roadway in the canyon, possibly during recent storms on Sept. 30.
The vehicle was described as a Silver Honda with significant damage and was registered to Goyal.
Investigators determined Goyal had camped in Joshua Tree National Park between Sept. 28 and Sept. 30.
He reportedly was traveling home to El Centro, with a likely route to include Box Canyon Road, about 7 p.m. on Sept. 30.
There was a significant storm in that area on that date and time, resulting in major destruction to Box Canyon Road due to flash flooding.
A search of the immediate area where the vehicle was located by deputies and rangers from the Bureau of Land Management was conducted without finding Goyal.
A massive search and rescue effort involving more than 200 searchers was conducted between Oct. 2 and Oct. 6.
Numerous items related to the vehicle were located throughout Box Canyon, although Goyal was not located during the search.
The ground search was suspended on Oct. 6; however, other search efforts continued.
On Sunday, deputies responded to a report of a dead body, which was later identified as Goyal, found in the desert near Painted Canyon and Box Canyon.
Goyal was found in a large area of temporary muddy water that had been receding after recent floods. There was no evidence of a criminal act, a RCSO press release stated.