El Mirage couple found dead in wreckage near Crown King

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

CROWN KING, Ariz. -- An El Mirage husband and wife who were reported missing over the weekend were found dead in a ravine near Crown King, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office.

John Mendoza, 44, and Lisa Gutierrez, 42, were last seen leaving Crown King around 10 p.m. Saturday.

Friends located the couple's SUV and the trailer they used to transport their modified Jeep parked near Cow Creek Road and Castle Hot Springs Sunday morning. Sheriff's office spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said parking at this location provided the couple access on an unpaved road to Crown King from the north end of Lake Pleasant.

Mendoza and Gutierrez were nowhere to be found and they were not answering their cellphones.

The couple's friends reported them missing at about 11:30 a.m. and YCSO search and rescue teams were contacted.

Around 1:30 p.m., friends of the couple located the Jeep in a steep ravine along a forest road.

Deputies and personnel from the Crown King Fire Department hiked to the site and determined the couple died as a result of a crash.

Gutierrez's body was found seat belted inside the vehicle. Mendoza had been ejected and his body was found nearby. It is unknown if he had been wearing a seat belt.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.