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L.A. couple’s car recovered, search for missing man suspended temporarily

Members of the Monterey County Search and Rescue team prepare to attach a second length of cable for the second pull on the first part of the car brought up. Officials from Monterey County Search and Rescue, San Luis Obispo County Search and Rescue and CHP with the assistance of two tow truck crews were lifting the pieces of a car that went off the cliff near Ragged Point.
Members of the Monterey County Search and Rescue team prepare to attach a second length of cable for the second pull on the first part of the car brought up. Officials from Monterey County Search and Rescue, San Luis Obispo County Search and Rescue and CHP with the assistance of two tow truck crews were lifting the pieces of a car that went off the cliff near Ragged Point. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Officials from the California Highway Patrol and the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office are examining a wrecked car belonging to a North Hollywood couple after the vehicle was pulled from the bottom of a steep coastal cliff near Ragged Point on Thursday.

The couple, Olivia Hannah Gonzalez, 20, and Brian Fernandez, 21, were last seen Dec. 23 while on a Christmas week trip to Big Sur. Gonzalez’s body was found near the car Tuesday, but by Friday evening search and rescue crews had found no sign of Fernandez.

On Friday afternoon, the Sheriff’s Office announced that because of stormy weather conditions forecast for the weekend, the agency is suspending search efforts until early next week when the weather improves. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tony Cipolla said the agency does not suspect foul play.

The mangled tan sedan, which was wedged between rocks near the water’s edge, was discovered off the side of Highway 1 on Tuesday, along with the bodies of Gonzalez and two dogs.

Crews from the CHP worked Thursday to recover the car. As of 8:15 a.m. Friday, CHP public information officer Patrick Seebart said the car had been “fully recovered” and taken to a facility to be investigated.

The results of an autopsy performed Wednesday on Gonzalez are pending.

Gabby Ferreira: 805-781-7858, @Its_GabbyF

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