Union Democrat staff

The remains of a woman missing since a March megastorm swept through Northern California have been identified as Carol Brown of Catheys Valley.

Mariposa County Search and Rescue officials found the remains in a large debris field near the Bear Reservoir, about nine miles downstream from where Brown was last seen.

The 72-year-old woman left her home on a side-by-side utility vehicle to check on her horses. Her husband found the vehicle about 30 minutes later on its side in a seasonal creek that normally was three-to-four feet wide. The storm had created a raging river, 150 feet wide choked with debris.

It “would have been impossible for a person to navigate,” a press release from the Sheriff’s Office said.

Brown was reported missing on March 22 and Mariposa County Sheriff’s personnel, Search and Rescue and cadaver dogs from the California Rescue Dog Association found her remains on June 16.

A forensic odonatologist used dental records to positively identify the skeletal remains.

“We are thankful we were able to locate her and help her family find closure,” the Sheriff’s Office press release said.

A former Sonora High wrestling coach John Honesto is still missing. His car was found buried in sand and debris a half-mile from a washed-out section of Highway 132 on March 22.

Honesto, 67, of La Grange near Don Pedro reservoir, had been employed as a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officer in Stockton before retiring more than a decade ago.

He then worked as an assistant wrestling coach at Sonora High School and as a substitute teacher in Tuolumne and Mariposa counties.

He was last seen by his wife before leaving for a substitute teaching job at Greeley Hill Elementary School. His car was seen stopped in traffic about 1:30 p.m. that day on Highway 132.

National Weather Service reported that over 72 hours, from 5 a.m. on March 20 to 5 a.m. on March 23, 4.03 inches of rain fell in the area.

The Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office said organized searches have continued during the past three months in the area where Honesto’s vehicle was found.

At the outset, 70 people, including ground searchers, swift water teams, boating rescue, drones, helicopters and search dogs, were involved in the search from Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office, Tuolumne County Sheriff, Madera County Sheriff, Kern County Sheriff, Fresno County Sheriff, Merced County Sheriff, Stanislaus County Sheriff, Calaveras County Sheriff, California Highway Patrol H40 Helicopter, CARDA Rescue and Cadaver Dogs, California Office of Emergency Services, CALFIRE and Monterey County Sheriff.

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