Found Deceased CA - Fang Jin, 47, flew to LA from China, train to Palm Springs, Morongo Basin, 21 Jul 2023, w/ JohnRoot Fitzpatrick, 55, missing, 30 Jul ‘23

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What's Sentinel?

It would be great if the blue truck were somewhere near Julian. Not many places it could be (and still be roadside). Many places it could go off into a ravine. Drone searches could be done - but Julian is merely the last place that JRF's phone pinged (apparently). Daily drivers would see cars by the side of the road - so one would have to posit an accident.

San Bernardino County, all by itself, is the largest county in the world (and roughly the size of Switzerland, IIRC). Then, apparently, they were also within Riverside, Imperial and San Diego Counties. San Diego County is also very large - and quite urban.

So we have a complex situation in which two different kinds of searches are at play. Poorly informed (no last sighting) searches of a vast area with all kinds of terrain OR a deliberate attempt to hide the truck (as our verified insider has suggested - perhaps in a storage area).

But here's how I see the problem:

instead of a probably futile search over territory that's the size of a few European nations (and sparsely populated - not sure if people from highly populated areas can really understand how sparsely populated the Salton Sea/Imperial County area is)...we need a digital search. Where did JRF buy gas? Use an ATM? Etc. How is he accessing his funds? How would he pay for a storage unit without a credit card?

IOW, hopefully, LE is attending to all this - although I've never seen it in a voluntarily missing case.

SO, one thing family can do is persist in trying to get SBCSO to change Fang Jin's status to "involuntarily missing." The daughters would be crucial for this. Where I work, it takes LE about 24 hours to get a translator in possibly criminal cases and people just...zoom (or similar). It's difficult for the daughter in China, I realize that. But if there is a daughter in Belgium, perhaps she can do a three-way Zoom and attempt to basically get LE to change the status? Or at least note that the family does not consider FJ to be voluntarily missing??

IMO.
 
What's Sentinel?

It would be great if the blue truck were somewhere near Julian. Not many places it could be (and still be roadside). Many places it could go off into a ravine. Drone searches could be done - but Julian is merely the last place that JRF's phone pinged (apparently). Daily drivers would see cars by the side of the road - so one would have to posit an accident.

San Bernardino County, all by itself, is the largest county in the world (and roughly the size of Switzerland, IIRC). Then, apparently, they were also within Riverside, Imperial and San Diego Counties. San Diego County is also very large - and quite urban.

So we have a complex situation in which two different kinds of searches are at play. Poorly informed (no last sighting) searches of a vast area with all kinds of terrain OR a deliberate attempt to hide the truck (as our verified insider has suggested - perhaps in a storage area).

But here's how I see the problem:

instead of a probably futile search over territory that's the size of a few European nations (and sparsely populated - not sure if people from highly populated areas can really understand how sparsely populated the Salton Sea/Imperial County area is)...we need a digital search. Where did JRF buy gas? Use an ATM? Etc. How is he accessing his funds? How would he pay for a storage unit without a credit card?

IOW, hopefully, LE is attending to all this - although I've never seen it in a voluntarily missing case.

SO, one thing family can do is persist in trying to get SBCSO to change Fang Jin's status to "involuntarily missing." The daughters would be crucial for this. Where I work, it takes LE about 24 hours to get a translator in possibly criminal cases and people just...zoom (or similar). It's difficult for the daughter in China, I realize that. But if there is a daughter in Belgium, perhaps she can do a three-way Zoom and attempt to basically get LE to change the status? Or at least note that the family does not consider FJ to be voluntarily missing??

IMO.
would help to know if JRF had a gas card or always used a certain brand...would there be cheaper gas on the base that he could buy? of course if he was deliberately trying to be evasive, he would not follow a pattern IMO. otherwise, the gas purchases would leave a trail and an end point.
 
If the money can be raised, hiring a private investigator to talk to the neighbors at JRF's trailer park might be useful, also to see if the owner/manager or any of the residents have security cameras. If money is tight, which I am sure it is for this kind of thing, then maybe just a targeted investigation by a PI at the trailer park. Someone must know something. The homes are very close to one another. Some may be reluctant to talk, but something may turn up.

Did any of the neighbors see Fang Jin? Did she stay there at all?
 
If you look at the highways, they make a big loop through thermal, down through Julian, then come back up to JRF’s home. Personally, I would start the search along that route. Maybe just driving it and looking out around any sharp curves to see if a truck could be hidden in the foliage. JMOO

His phone pinged in Julian around 7/24. That was the last evidence of his existence, AFAIK. If there's evidence they went back to Morongo Valley after that, to me, that's huge.

Can you say how you know this? They were determined to have been at a campground at Thermal on the 22nd, I think. Her last phone contact was the 21st.

Past Julian, I know of no evidence that they went back up to Morongo -and if they did, that makes a huge difference as to an overall search.

TIA.
 
would help to know if JRF had a gas card or always used a certain brand...would there be cheaper gas on the base that he could buy? of course if he was deliberately trying to be evasive, he would not follow a pattern IMO. otherwise, the gas purchases would leave a trail and an end point.

We know almost nothing about JRF and we don't even know if any LE has tried to find these things out.

And if LE has discovered this information, they aren't going to share it with us until an arrest is made (if that's what happens).

I have never known a case where voluntarily missing adults had their financial/credit card records scrutinized by LE. That takes a court order - and there's not even a criminal case here. To get a subpoena for those records, there must be a criminal or civil matter under investigation.

In the Idaho Four case, Kaylee's sister had access to several of her accounts and was able to glean information from them (like the trip to the food truck), but only because the sisters had shared passwords.

IMO
 
His phone pinged in Julian around 7/24. That was the last evidence of his existence, AFAIK. If there's evidence they went back to Morongo Valley after that, to me, that's huge.

Can you say how you know this? They were determined to have been at a campground at Thermal on the 22nd, I think. Her last phone contact was the 21st.

Past Julian, I know of no evidence that they went back up to Morongo -and if they did, that makes a huge difference as to an overall search.

TIA.
I believe it’s that the truck was captured on camera at a campground on the 22nd. Not exactly a confirmation that both Fang and JRF were both at the campground. And I’m not convinced the campground was actually in Thermal. It could have been some other town where there are hot springs.
 
If the money can be raised, hiring a private investigator to talk to the neighbors at JRF's trailer park might be useful, also to see if the owner/manager or any of the residents have security cameras. If money is tight, which I am sure it is for this kind of thing, then maybe just a targeted investigation by a PI at the trailer park. Someone must know something. The homes are very close to one another. Some may be reluctant to talk, but something may turn up.

Did any of the neighbors see Fang Jin? Did she stay there at all?
Thx , this part is done last week because we hired PI
 
Besides hot as Hades, what's the climate like out that way? And by climate, I mean crime level. If they were on a short hike, could someone have seen an opportunity to jimmy a truck? Maybe their phones were both in the truck, if cell reception was pointless.

And when they returned for the truck, it and their provisions were gone, and without any real protection or resource, they eventually succumbed to the elements?

Vehicle, long since scrapped.

Confluence of misfortune?

Jmo
 
His phone pinged in Julian around 7/24. That was the last evidence of his existence, AFAIK. If there's evidence they went back to Morongo Valley after that, to me, that's huge.

Can you say how you know this? They were determined to have been at a campground at Thermal on the 22nd, I think. Her last phone contact was the 21st.

Past Julian, I know of no evidence that they went back up to Morongo -and if they did, that makes a huge difference as to an overall search.

TIA.
There is no evidence. If you follow the route they took on the map, it make a half circle. I spoke to some people familiar with the area who said that is a popular camping route. I was simply providing a suggestion based on simplest answer. They went to JT, back to his house, makes sense they make another trip then return to his home. Just offering an opinion.
 
I vote for a drone search around the areas where the last ping (his?) and the van caught on camera was.
Also whoever said to drive around the area and have a look around where people don't usually look.
It's been mentioned the van may be covered in brush, but at least get that done before starting to spend money on your search, PI or whatever will be needed.
jmo.
 
There is no evidence. If you follow the route they took on the map, it make a half circle. I spoke to some people familiar with the area who said that is a popular camping route. I was simply providing a suggestion based on simplest answer. They went to JT, back to his house, makes sense they make another trip then return to his home. Just offering an opinion.

Oh, okay. Certainly possible. In that case, I'd think somehow checking with his neighbors (or that friend who tried to contact the daughter) would be in order. LE has led everyone in four counties to believe that last known location was Julian.
 
Oh, okay. Certainly possible. In that case, I'd think somehow checking with his neighbors (or that friend who tried to contact the daughter) would be in order. LE has led everyone in four counties to believe that last known location was Julian.
Our insider may be able to provide info supporting a theory they didn't return to his abode once on their road trip. Sorry mods if I'm doing this wrong.
@mark1969
 
If the money can be raised, hiring a private investigator to talk to the neighbors at JRF's trailer park might be useful, also to see if the owner/manager or any of the residents have security cameras. If money is tight, which I am sure it is for this kind of thing, then maybe just a targeted investigation by a PI at the trailer park. Someone must know something. The homes are very close to one another. Some may be reluctant to talk, but something may turn up.

Did any of the neighbors see Fang Jin? Did she stay there at all?

Thx , this part is done last week because we hired PI
Welcome @mark1969
Thanks for going through the verification process.

It’s great to hear that a PI has been hired. It might be a good idea for them to talk to his 3 ex-wives to get their insights on what might have happened. Maybe go back to the beginning and find out how they met online and determine the nature of their relationship and plans for her time in the US.

Since Fang last contacted her family on July 21 from Twentynine Palms, we don’t know if she was even in the truck with him on the 22nd or in Julian on the 24th when his phone last pinged. Seems kind of wasteful to do drone searches, without more information.
 
Oh, okay. Certainly possible. In that case, I'd think somehow checking with his neighbors (or that friend who tried to contact the daughter) would be in order. LE has led everyone in four counties to believe that last known location was Julian.
LE never confirmed that the last known location was Julian. That was second hand information given to her daughter by a park ranger.
 
LE never confirmed that the last known location was Julian. That was second hand information given to her daughter by a park ranger.
I agree

I do not believe LE has made any public statements at all about his phone, and the information the daughter received may be interpreted as fact rather than a suggestion or comment.

It makes sense that they would head to the Borrego-Thermal area in search of hot springs, as there are many in the area that are undeveloped and would suit remote campers.

However, I think it's critically important to investigate his home area and verified sightings, which would be in the Morongo Valley - Joshua Tree area.

The distances involved and the lack of CCTV in most all the area they were in really means investigations have to be very specific.
 
About the PI:

I'd prioritize talking to the neighbors in the motor home park in Morongo Valley - and every business in Julian.

Also, the campgrounds around Thermal.

Very hard to believe they went camping near Thermal (LE says they verified this) and then somehow got within range of a cell tower in Julian without the truck.

Of course, someone else could have been driving the truck. But finding the truck is crucial to getting many things to happen (such as status changed to involuntary missing; starting a ground search; organizing a drone search).

Although, if a local drone volunteer group wanted to spend some weekends inspecting the area between Thermal and near Julian (this would take several days and several drones), that would be great.

I'd make a color flier of the truck (showing the model and color) with BIG letters showing the plate number and also some words about the possibility of two people missing, could be lost in the area, or could have gone off the road in a ravine. I'd put them in all the local Julian businesses. And then branch out to other nearby places. I doubt they went back north to Joshua Tree and they didn't leave the truck in Joshua Tree, or it would have been found (park is very strict about overnight parking outside of a campground and all campground users must register - it has to have been already checked by the rangers). Joining JT tweet feed and facebook as well as any other public pages related to any wilderness area they could possibly have gone to - and asking every few days if the truck has been sighted, would be good. One could also join FB pages for all the businesses in Julian and post a comment with the information (as well as any other towns that might possibly have info: Morongo Valley; Borrego Springs; 29 Palms, Julian, Salton Sea towns, etc, etc).

IMO
 
LE never confirmed that the last known location was Julian. That was second hand information given to her daughter by a park ranger.

Well, then, I've read both things here. However, I am going to trust the daughter's information. Park Rangers are typically law enforcement and certainly have legal jurisdiction on the lands where they work.

So I'd say LE (the ranger) confirmed it and I think it's a valuable clue.
 
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