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California H.S. student who vanished while working on a school project is found dead

Colfax High School junior Dante de la Torre, 16, went to gather soil samples near the Gold Run Rest Area off Interstate 80, but did not return, officials said.

A Northern California teen who vanished while reportedly doing research for a school project was found dead on Thursday — though foul play is not suspected, authorities said.

Dante de la Torre.
Dante de la Torre.Placer County Sheriff's Office

The parents of Dante de la Torre, 16, reported that he disappeared Wednesday while out gathering soil samples near the Gold Run Rest Area off Interstate 80, officials said.

The remote wooded area is about 60 miles north of the California State Capitol in Sacramento, officials said.

The junior from Colfax High School "was found deceased this afternoon in a remote wooded area near the" rest stop, according to a Placer County Sheriff's Office statement on Thursday.

"There is no indication Dante’s death was foul play," though the coroner is still set to investigate, the sheriff added.

"We offer our condolences to the de la Torre family and Dante’s friends during this unbelievably tragic time."

The student's disappearance sparked an instant outpouring of concern from the community, forcing law enforcement and school officials to ask well wishers not to search on their own, fearing such efforts could throw off police dogs who were out looking for him.

“Colfax High School, along with the entire Placer Union High School District, is heartbroken to learn the passing of Dante de la Torre as reported by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office,” according to a school district statement. “Such tragedies, especially when they involve young people, are very difficult to process.”