EL MIRAGE, Calif. — Deputies found the bodies of six people at a remote dirt crossroads in the Mojave Desert in Southern California, a scene described as so grisly that TV stations blurred some of the images captured by their helicopters overhead.
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies responding to a request for a wellness check reached the area off Highway 395 outside the community of El Mirage around 8:15 p.m. Tuesday and found five of the bodies. The sixth was found Wednesday morning, sheriff’s spokesperson Mara Rodriguez said.
Details about their identities, including sex and age, were not immediately available, according to NBC Los Angeles.
Authorities were still gathering evidence to determine what happened, and Rodriguez said they could not say even how the people died or whether they had been shot. The area, about 50 miles northeast of Los Angeles and about 20 miles northwest of Victorville, is so remote that the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department called in help from the California Highway Patrol’s Aviation Division to find the scene, Rodriguez said.
"It'll be several hours still before we are ready for any body to be removed from the scene," she said, adding that the coroner's investigators will be called in then.
TV crews arriving at the scene Tuesday night reported seeing two vehicles there. Overhead footage from TV stations showed a dark blue SUV with a passenger window blown out and another door open, with part of the image blurred. A silver minivan was also at the scene, NBC Los Angeles reported.
The footage showed several yellow markers near the dirt crossroads, in scrubby desert land that stretched for miles. Yellow tape blocked access from the nearest paved road.
Members of the department's specialized investigations division were brought in to conduct a homicide investigation, according to an email from sheriff’s spokesperson Gloria Huerta.